A New Day: April 14 Inauguration of Edward Serna Makes Winthrop History as He Becomes First Alumnus to Assume Presidency

March 27, 2023


  • President Edward A. Serna ’02 will be installed as the institution’s 12th president during an April 14 inauguration ceremony.
  • The ceremony will be followed by a community-wide picnic on the Campus Green.
  • Serna holds the distinction of being the first Winthrop alumnus to lead the university.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University will celebrate a new day in its history when President Edward A. Serna ’02 is installed as the institution’s 12th president during an April 14 inauguration ceremony.

Typically during a president’s first year, an inauguration ceremony is held to symbolize a change of leadership and to provide a chance to mark a significant milestone in the institution’s history.

The investiture will begin at 11 a.m. in the Winthrop Coliseum with a formal procession to include members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, as well as South Carolina and Big South Conference presidents or representatives from those schools.

Legislators, state, city, and York County dignitaries, alumni, and members of the campus and Rock Hill communities are expected to witness Serna officially receiving the presidential medallion on stage.

The new president holds the distinction of being the first Winthrop alumnus to lead the university.

Since Serna’s July 1, 2022, arrival on campus, he has focused on connecting with others to create partnerships with multiple constituencies. As the voice of Winthrop, he has met with major donors, alumni groups, business leaders, fellow college presidents, faculty and staff, among other stakeholders. In addition to the bonds to be forged with others, Serna, who is a self-proclaimed “data-driven guy,” has called for the creation of a new strategic plan, a study of academic efficiencies and an identification of Winthrop’s niche in a thriving Charlotte metropolitan area. Learn more about Serna.

Keynote Speaker is Serna’s Mentor and Former Colleague

The ceremony’s keynote speaker is a former colleague of Serna’s from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Dr. Paul Beran, who was chancellor of the Arkansas institution, will talk on Serna’s rise to leadership and his academic philosophy, which Serna carried out at his first presidency during his time at the University of Maine Farmington.

Both Beran and Serna started a new presidency on July 1, as Beran became interim president at Western Connecticut State University. He has served as executive director and chief executive officer for South Dakota’s six public universities and two special schools. In addition to overseeing the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Beran also served as president of Northwestern Oklahoma State University and its three campuses.

Beran has worked as a senior administrator at community colleges in Massachusetts and Missouri. At the beginning of his career, he was a faculty member at the university and community college level in Texas.

Beran holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in higher education from Texas A&M University and has completed post-graduate work at the University of Houston. He also has a Master of Arts degree in English and bachelor’s degrees in English and political science, all from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas.

Picnic and Events Scheduled Following the Ceremony

After the inauguration ceremony at the Coliseum, the activities will move to the main campus for a 12:30 p.m. picnic on the Campus Green. The community is encouraged to share a meal and then explore the campus and attend many of the scheduled activities, including the SOURCE undergraduate research conference, a dance showcase, a film viewing and other events. The rain location for the picnic is the West Center.

For more information on the ceremony, please visit www.winthrop.edu/inauguration or contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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