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The Winthrop University Foundation, Inc. is designated a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation was created in 1973, but expanded in 1993 for the purpose of managing assets and maintaining gift records for the benefit of Winthrop University.

The current mission of the Foundation, which is governed by a volunteer board, is to support and enhance Winthrop University by encouraging alumni and friends to provide private funds and other resources for the university’s benefit, to manage those assets, and to provide volunteer leadership in support of the university’s objectives.

The Foundation is the principal recipient of private gifts from alumni and friends of the university. It also manages and distributes restricted and unrestricted endowment gifts, deferred gifts, and special gifts to build and maintain programs at Winthrop University. Gifts of cash, negotiable securities, and deferred gifts support endowed chairs, endowed professorships, scholarships, awards, faculty enrichment programs, and other educational services of the university. Copy SC Certification, 1973.


Foundation Spotlight: Cindy McDaniel Johnson Endowed Scholarship

Cindy McDaniel Johnson


Cindy Johnson ’76, ‘78 may have had four biological sons, but her children numbered in the hundreds.

The elementary school teacher spent 30 years teaching fourth and fifth grades at Sunset Park and Richmond Drive elementary schools and mothered all of her students.

“They were all her kids, and she loved and valued them for who they uniquely were, not just what she wanted them to be or do,” said Pat Maness, her principal at Richmond Drive.

When Johnson passed away Nov. 30, 2017, Maness delivered the eulogy at her funeral and described a woman who made a huge difference in her world. “Her affect, demeanor, attitude and character were open, honest and consistent every day,” the principal said. “She came early, worked too late and delivered on what she promised.”

Knowing the value his wife put on education, Johnson’s husband, Ben ‘78, has decided that her legacy would include a Winthrop University endowed scholarship for aspiring teachers.

The Cindy McDaniel Johnson Endowed Scholarship will provide an inaugural scholarship award of $2,000 this fall to a talented junior majoring in elementary education.

Ben Johnson called his wife a woman of steady grace and compassion who taught as much by example as by instruction. “Over the years, she encouraged hundreds of students to see the best in themselves and in each other, and to live lives of purpose and respect,” he said.

She worked with students on the basics such as reading, math, science and social studies, and made sure they learned all the states and capitals. “The most important lesson in her fourth grade class, though, was about responsibility and that same lesson was taught every day,” Maness said of the woman who had a gift as the “Boy Whisperer.”

“She wanted kids and parents to know they could stumble and fall and pick themselves up and move on. It’s not how you messed up but what you could learn from it.”

To the educators who taught with Johnson, she was the ultimate champion of her students. She also mentored young teachers and helped Maness solve a complex issue when he wanted to talk out solutions.

After retiring from teaching in 2013, Johnson spent more time on her hobbies – reading, cooking and gardening – and with her family members. She particularly enjoyed hiking in the mountains and exploring the outdoors. In the last few years, she became an enthusiastic potter.

Also important to her was her church, St. John’s United Methodist Church in Rock Hill.

Even though Cindy Johnson never sought the spotlight, Ben Johnson said she approved of this scholarship to help the next generation of teachers.

You can also watch a spotlight on the scholarship, including a conversation with Ben Johnson as well as a former principal and a former student of Cindy's, from the CN2 broacast here.

To donate to the Cindy McDaniel Johnson Endowed Scholarship, visit, or contact the Winthrop University Foundation at 803/323-2229.

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