Dr. Anthony J. DiGiorgio, President
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC
Now in his 23rd year as president of Winthrop University, Dr. Anthony J. DiGiorgio believes that attaining excellence requires three things:
- caring more than some might think is wise,
- risking more than some might think is safe, and
- dreaming more than some might think is practical.*
It is that approach that has resulted in Dr. DiGiorgio now being the longest-serving president of any public university in South Carolina – and Winthrop University having grown from a regional college with a venerable history to a national-caliber comprehensive university that helps set the pace for quality higher education in the thriving Charlotte-Metrolina region.
DiGiorgio began his presidency by articulating a "Vision of Distinction" for Winthrop, then leading the university community in designing a series of annual work plans that advance the goals encompassed by the vision. While each year's work plan is adjusted as market imperatives shift, a core of agreed-upon values remains at the center of the endeavor. Each new year's work plan builds on the foundation of the previous year's achievements.
DiGiorgio likens it to a family's achievements, with each new generation building on the foundation of its elders – an observation drawn from his own youth.
The son of an immigrant bricklayer, Anthony Joseph DiGiorgio was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, in 1940. Like many immigrants to this country, the DiGiorgio family found that hard work and persistence were the keys to survival in America – key elements that characterize the DiGiorgio leadership style today.
After receiving his undergraduate degree at Gannon College, Dr. DiGiorgio earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue University. After achieving his Ph.D., Dr. DiGiorgio continued his education with extensive postdoctoral training in psychology and educational development. In 1987, he attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.
Dr. DiGiorgio’s career in education began in 1963 when he taught English at Belleville Senior High School in New Jersey. Three years later, he became an instructor and Assistant to the Dean of Humanities, Social Science and Education at Purdue University.
In 1970, he began the first of 19 years of service at The College of New Jersey, a former state teachers’ college that evolved to a nationally recognized comprehensive college. He served The College of New Jersey in a number of positions, including Vice President for Academic Affairs. Also while there, he met his wife, Gale, who was then Dean of Student Life at a nearby institution. The DiGiorgio family includes two daughters, the elder of whom passed away in 2007, and three grandchildren.
In January 1989, Dr. DiGiorgio was appointed by the Winthrop College Board of Trustees to become Winthrop’s ninth president. In that role, he led the college’s conversion to Winthrop University, a comprehensive teaching institution now offering 89 undergraduate and 41 graduate degree programs and options, and initiated the University’s successful drive to achieve 100 percent accreditation in all Winthrop programs for which national accreditation is offered.
Today, Winthrop University is regularly rated among the top public institutions of its kind in the South, winning accolades for academic excellence, character development, commitment to diversity, student programming, sound fiscal management and environmental achievements. It is regularly ranked in the ‘Top Ten’ public universities in the South offering master’s degrees by U.S. News and World Report.
Dr. DiGiorgio is a former member of the board of directors of the National Collegiate Athletics Association, having served two terms. He also has served as a member of the board of the Charlotte division of the Federal Reserve Bank, the South Carolina representative to the American Association of State College and Universities State Leadership Council, and as a member of the board of the Charlotte Regional Partnership for Economic Development. He currently also serves on the board of York County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation, and is a member of numerous professional organizations.
*Adapted from Canadian author-educator Claude Bissell