Kathy Bigham To Chair 10-member Search Panel For Tenth Winthrop President
- Search Committee to deliver 3-5 names for trustees’ final selection.
- Search expected to take 12 months, with selection likely in April 2013.
ROCK HILL, S.C. - A 10-member “Search and Selection Committee” named Friday will spend the next year soliciting and reviewing applications and nominations of individuals who hope to become the tenth president of Winthrop University.
Winthrop University Board of Trustees Vice Chair Kathy Bigham of Rock Hill will lead the work, according to Board Chairman Dalton Floyd of Surfside Beach, S.C., who made the assignments.
The creation of the committee was triggered by a March 20 announcement from President Anthony DiGiorgio that he will be retiring in summer 2013 after 24 years as president at Winthrop.
The panel overseeing the search for DiGiorgio’s successor includes eight trustees (including the chairs of Winthrop’s Faculty Conference and Council of Student Leaders) the chair of the Winthrop University Foundation, and a co-chair of Winthrop’s current capital campaign. Professions represented include large and small business, finance, law, higher education, and secondary education.
The group will be responsible for “recommending to the Board of Trustees an unranked list of three to five individuals who, in the (committee’s) judgment, are well-qualified to be the tenth president of Winthrop University,” according to a charge to the group adopted by the board on Friday. The Board of Trustees, itself, retains the right to make the final selection and appointment of the new president, the chairman said.
Floyd said Bigham’s earlier two terms as board chair, her role as a civic leader in Rock Hill, and the fact that she is a Winthrop alumna are among the things that make her an all-around best choice to lead the group.
“Kathy has known Winthrop from the perspectives of a student, a Winthrop parent, a local employer, an alumna, and a trustee,” Floyd said, adding, “and that makes her uniquely qualified among us to take on this added important responsibility.”
Bigham said she appreciates the confidence being placed in her, while “the 20-year-old college student I once was never envisioned I would be involved someday in choosing a president for Winthrop.”
“It is a good group of people who have agreed to serve on the committee,” she added. “All of us care deeply about Winthrop and its future, and as a group, we can reach out to all those who have a stake in this choice and be sure their input is considered early in the process.
“Winthrop is on a strong trajectory, so we will be looking for candidates with an appreciation of what it has taken to bring Winthrop to this level, and who truly are ready to continue that work,” she said.
The trustees Friday authorized the hiring of a search consultant whose role will be to identify and recruit diverse potential candidates from across the country who may be a match for Winthrop’s expectations, and to interview applicants and determine which ones are worthy of being invited to campus to meet with various constituencies. University officials said the board likely will choose that consultant at its next regular meeting in June, after reviewing qualifications of several firms.
The key part of the search committee’s work will be to seek “significant input from Winthrop’s key constituencies, giving each constituency opportunity early in the search process to offer views on qualities to seek in candidates, (and ) to nominate specific individuals,” as well as the opportunity to interview finalists.
Bigham said the search committee will be setting up a web site as one of its means for gathering viewpoints on qualities and characteristics in candidates. The site also will be used for regular updates on the progress of the search.
An organizational meeting for the committee will be scheduled in the next few weeks, with the goal of having search materials ready for advertising in prominent higher education journals in a July-August timeframe, which officials indicate is the traditional time for higher education presidential searches to be launched.