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Winthrop Firsts

First African-American Alumni Trustee

Sheila McMillan ’73, Esq.

Jan. 30, 1953 – Present

McMillan, Sheila

Sheila McMillan, Esq., was Winthrop’s first African-American alumni and first African-American female trustee. She came to Winthrop in 1970 after graduating from Central High School.

During her years at Winthrop, McMillan was president of the Association of Ebonites, Winthrop’s first and oldest African-American student organization, as well as a Resident Assistant in Bancroft Hall.

She graduated with a degree in history in 1973 and taught junior and high school history. She went on to earn a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte in 1975 and a juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1979. While in law school she became the first woman president of the USC chapter of the Black American Law Students Association. In addition to her service on the Winthrop University Board of Trustees from 1983-91, she also served as a state officer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

She is a practicing attorney at the South Carolina Department of Workforce and Employment in Columbia, S.C., and previously worked as an attorney in the S.C. Senate for more than 20 years.

In recognition of McMillan’s pioneering leadership and service, The Roddey-McMillan Record, Winthrop’s monthly student newspaper that promotes awareness and understanding of issues concerning minorities, was named for her and Cynthia Plair Roddey.

McMillan has continued to give her time to Winthrop. She has participated in various panels to discuss her Winthrop experience and integration, and to offer advice and words of wisdom to current students.

1991: Sheila McMillan receiving Tillman portrait

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