ROCK HILL, S.C. – Winthrop University will rename its Society of 1886 the “D.B. Johnson Society” in memory of the institution’s founding and longest-serving president.
Winthrop grew out of the vision of its founder, David Bancroft Johnson. As superintendent of schools in Columbia, S.C., Johnson was keenly aware of the lack of professionally trained school teachers in the state and felt strongly that a teacher training school was the answer.
To establish funding for the school, Johnson went to Robert C. Winthrop, Massachusetts philanthropist and chair of the Peabody Fund. The philanthropist shared Johnson's vision and secured the $1,500 needed to open Winthrop Training School in 1886. Born on Jan.10, 1856, Johnson led Winthrop from 1886 until he died in 1928. He and his wife are buried on the campus in the Little Chapel.
President Anthony DiGiorgio, who is now in his 21st year as Winthrop president, noted that the re-naming “is an appropriate and timely way of honoring the man who set a tone of quality and service for Winthrop that remains a touchstone in all we do almost 125 years later, and will continue to guide our future as well.”
Brien Lewis, vice president for university development and alumni relations, said current members of the Society of 1886 will be “grandfathered” into the new D.B. Johnson Society. This particular group is made up of a special group of alumni and friends who have included Winthrop in their estate planning. They support the university’s vision for tomorrow through provisions in their wills, trusts, annuities, life insurance or other planned gifts.
The renaming of this legacy society at Winthrop will occur during January, Johnson’s birth month.
New members are encouraged to join the society. Those who have committed to the society by Sept. 30, 2011, will be recognized and formally inducted as members of the Charter Class of the D.B. Johnson Society during the university’s Quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary, celebrations.
For more information, call the Development Office at 803/323-2150.