Winthrop College became Winthrop University in its 106th year, and launched its first-ever capital campaign six years later – in Winthrop's 112th year. Those two respective milestones, in 1992 and 1998, both occurred during President Anthony DiGiorgio's presidency – as did the launch of Winthrop's second capital campaign in 2011.
In reflecting on Winthrop's expanded capacity for outreach to donors, DiGiorgio compares building the infrastructure of a modern development operation to the challenge of updating and developing the Winthrop campus utility infrastructure: "We had to work behind the scenes on what could not readily be seen before Winthrop was ready to take on more visible, high-profile initiatives. It took five to six years to move from bare bones operations to more substantive initiatives."
Little by little in those early years, Winthrop's development operations grew in size, quality and technological reach. Each upgrade brought the University improved capacity to grow its philanthropic programs in new ways. From an Annual Fund drive limited to alumni and a small solicitation of local businesses in the early years, Winthrop today is supported by two not-for-profit entities, the Winthrop Foundation and the Winthrop Real Estate Foundation, each of which engage in an array of private solicitations to support the mission of the University.
Over President Emeritus DiGiorgio's 24 years in office, the number of milestone achievements accelerated. Key among them:
- Winthrop's second capital campaign, Distinction, the Campaign for Winthrop, has a goal of $50 million, and had raised more than $41 million of that goal by the end of Dr. DiGiorgio's presidency.
- The first seven-figure gift in Winthrop's history was received during the first capital campaign, and three more seven-figure gifts followed.
- Ten more million-dollar-plus gifts had been received during the on-going Distinction campaign before Dr. DiGiorgio's retirement from the presidency.
- Annual giving increased by 66% during Dr. DiGiorgio's presidency, with the 2012 fund drive having raised more than half a million dollars.
- Winthrop for the first time began to develop endowed professorships, with six in place in 2013.
- The D.B. Johnson Society, made up of individuals who remember Winthrop in their estate plans, debuted. The Society now counts almost 400 members, with President Emeritus and Mrs. DiGiorgio among them.
- Through the Professional Network component of EAGLElink, alumni volunteer to be professional mentors allowing students and other alumni to contact them about their career, industry and employment expertise and experience.
Winthrop grew from having 37,000 active alumni to more than 57,000 during President DiGiorgio's tenure.
Like all Winthrop accomplishments over his time as president, Dr. DiGiorgio credits the partnerships and collaborations formed over the years with the array of achievements.