September 3, 2010
Letter from the President
As an institution of higher learning now in its 125th academic year, Winthrop University honors its venerable history through the depth of its contemporary commitment to infusing quality and value in all aspects of the Winthrop student experience.
Essential to that commitment is Winthrop's strong belief in the pivotal role that accreditation processes play in fulfilling our vision of being - and being recognized as - one of the best universities of our type. Whether the accreditation at hand is for a single program or for reaffirmation of overall institutional standing, accreditation processes challenge an institution to engage in regular, purposeful self-examination and thoughtful reflection about how well it is fulfilling its mission in the present - and more importantly, how it can fulfill that mission even better in the future. That is a challenge Winthrop continues to welcome, for at the end of the day, our mission and that of our regional accrediting body is the same: to see just how good we can make the higher education of our students.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and (then) Winthrop College were born in the same era - the late 19th century, at a time of transformational cultural and economic change. Each was founded from a realization that change was re-shaping the world, and those who would succeed best were those who harnessed that change and made it work for them.
While it took until 1923 for SACS' Commission on Colleges and Winthrop to find each other, there then began a relationship that has served this institution well for many decades since. Over the years, Winthrop has evolved from single-gender and single-purpose to a comprehensive institution with a diverse student body that includes individuals from more than 40 nations around the world. Many Winthrop alumni enrich South Carolina and other parts of the Southern region with their presence and their talents, while other Winthrop alumni find their futures as citizens of the world, wherever their native roots might be. We cannot know when a student arrives here which path he or she will choose, yet it is up to us to prepare all our students to make those choices - including the ones who haven't even been born yet. That is why for Winthrop, the reaffirmation process would be a chosen path to continuous quality enhancement, even if it were not an essentially required one.
We welcome the members of the Review Committees of the SACS Commission on Colleges to Winthrop University - both through the virtual representations of our work here and the campus visit to follow. We believe you will find the nature and character of our campus to be one that eagerly welcomes the introspection and reflection that are the heart of the re-affirmation process. Just as similar processes have been an essential part of creating the Winthrop that exists today, so will this and future such processes shape the Winthrop that will be ready to serve our students of the future.
Anthony J. DiGiorgio