About Dr. Comstock
Dr. Jayne Marie (Jamie) Comstock became the 10th President of Winthrop University on July 1, 2013. She, her husband, Larry A. Williamson, and Cocoa, their 9-year-old Chesapeake retriever, now make the President's House at Winthrop their home.
Comstock's passion for higher education has long been found in the intersection of quality and access. Across her 30-year career, Comstock has inspired the delivery of quality higher education characterized by a blend of liberal arts, professional programs, global awareness, and civic engagement. As her blog, Advancing the Higher Education Agenda, illustrates, Comstock advocates that all students--regardless of demographic category or life experience--deserve this kind of quality education that an exceptional public institution like Winthrop offers. Her vision of Winthrop is of an institution on the rise, uniquely positioned to offer quality and access to deserving students. Under her leadership, Winthrop is redefining excellence in public higher education as "inclusive" rather than "exclusive," refusing to sacrifice quality, while opening doors to students who want to transform their opportunities through education.
Comstock has extensive experience as a senior-level academic administrator and a national reputation in the area of higher education leadership. Most recently, she served as the director of the Executive Leadership Group for American Council on Education (ACE), in Washington D.C. In this role, she prepared today's leaders for tomorrow's challenges by designing, developing, and delivering executive leadership programs for college and university presidents, chief academic officers, and other senior campus leaders. She continues her work with ACE through the Commission on Leadership. Comstock also served as the chief academic officer at three different universities, most recently in the role of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind. Prior to her work at Butler, Comstock served as vice president for academic affairs at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., and as vice president and dean of the college at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan.
Comstock is known as a collaborative leader who invigorates connections across constituency groups, uplifts the voice of faculty, staff, and students in decision-making processes, and manifests an unflappable commitment to diversity and gender equity. She has worked tirelessly in her first year to connect with Winthrop faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to ensure that she understands their hopes and dreams for Winthrop's future. She has infused the campus community with her energy, and she has marshaled support for a collaborative campus-wide visioning process, the results of which will inform the university's strategic planning and priorities going forward. Comstock is an inspirational leader who is committed to advancing the university, assuring student success, and securing resources to make Winthrop's dreams a reality.
A native of south-central Illinois, Comstock earned her Ph.D. in communication from the University of Arizona and holds bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from Illinois State University.
Comstock is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation and the Winthrop Foundation. She is supported in her work on Winthrop's behalf by husband Larry Williamson. Williamson has an extensive background in higher education administration as a former vice president for advancement, director of government relations, and executive director of a university foundation. He has taught political science courses at several universities, has served on the staff of a U.S. congressman, and is a retired U.S. Navy captain.