Alumni to be Honored with Awards During Homecoming & Reunion Weekend

November 14, 2018


  • Each November, the Winthrop Alumni Association presents awards during the Alumni Reunion & Awards Luncheon, held during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, to alumni who have demonstrated Winthrop's tradition of excellence.
  • The Honors and Awards Committee of the Alumni Executive Board reviews nominations and selects winners.
  • This year’s Alumni Award winners will be recognized during the Nov. 17 Alumni Reunion & Awards Luncheon at 11 a.m. in McBryde Hall.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Five outstanding Winthrop University alumni will be honored for their service and professional achievements as Winthrop graduates during the 2018 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Nov. 16-17.

This year’s Alumni Award winners will be recognized during the Nov. 17 Alumni Reunion & Awards Luncheon at 11 a.m. in McBryde Hall. The winners are listed below:

Bert Bobb ’63, Mary Mildred Sullivan Award
The Mary Mildred Sullivan Award recognizes a Winthrop alumna for selfless dedication of time, energy and talent in service to others. Bobb was selected for this prestigious award, among the highest given by the Alumni Association, because of her many professional contributions to higher education, athletics and to Winthrop. She has been an active member of the Winthrop community since 1963 and currently serves on the Eagle Club Board and Alumni Executive Board. Additionally, she has been heavily involved with Winthrop over the years as an administrator, faculty member and Eagle sports fan. As a lifelong learner, Bobb attended Winthrop and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and taught before completing a master’s degree at the University of Tennessee and an Ed.D. from the University of Georgia.

Doug Echols ’77, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award
Echols, a former Rock Hill mayor, is recognized for giving his time, talents and energy toward furthering the university’s mission. As a former Winthrop employee, having worked as Winthrop’s associate director of athletics and coliseum manager in the 1980s, he left to make history as the first commissioner of the South Atlantic Conference and stayed in that role for 19 years until his retirement in 2008. On a national level, he worked on committees to help the NCAA in restructuring its divisions, as well as in developing a compliance model for Division II. In Rock Hill, he was a leader on the Rock Hill City Council for eight years before taking over the reins as mayor. During his 20-year tenure, he was recognized with many honors for his service and dedication to the community and state.

Maggie Gamble ’67, ’71, Alumni Distinguished Service Award
The Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizes a Winthrop alumna/us who significantly contributes to the quality of life in his/her community, the development of overall values and morals within others, and serves as an outstanding citizen in his/her own right. A long-time educator, Gamble worked in many jobs in the field: as a bus driver training instructor for the South Carolina Department of Education, guidance counselor, as assistant principal at Andrew Jackson High School, assistant principal at Lancaster High School and principal at Heath Springs Elementary School. Gamble also served on the Lancaster County School Board for 16 years, the Kershaw Town Council for four years, the Lancaster County Economic & Development Corp. and the S.C. School Board Association. She has volunteered for an assortment of human service, library and education groups.

Derrick Alridge ’87, ’92, Alumni Professional Achievement Award
Alridge is being honored with the Alumni Professional Achievement Award for his outstanding accomplishments in examining African-American education and history. The award recognizes an alumna/us who has made significant contributions to his/her professional field while exemplifying high moral and business ethics. He is currently a professor in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and director of UVA’s Center on Race and Public Education in the South, and has had a career marked by many academic and creative successes. Alridge excelled as an educator and scholar, and he is the founder and director of Teachers in the Movement, an oral history project that examines the contributions of teachers during the civil rights movement. Included in this project is an interview with Cynthia Plair Roddey ’67, a Rock Hill resident and Winthrop’s first African-American graduate student. Additionally, he has conducted research on major contributors to the African-American experience over the past century. His findings are featured in “The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History” and another work soon to be published, “The Hip-Hop Mind: History, Ideas, and Social Consciousness.”

Alena James ’08, ’10, Outstanding Young Alumni Award
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes a Winthrop alumna/us age 35 or younger whose service to the university, service to the community and professional achievements have reflected positively on all alumni and the university. James earned bachelor degrees in biology and political science and a master’s degree in biology from Winthrop and then completed a second master’s degree in biodefense from George Mason University. She has excelled in teaching, writing and expanding her areas of expertise in chemical and biological defense. James’ travels have taken her to the Middle East to investigate microbial forensics to Vietnam for the 27th International Biology Olympiad. Most recently, she has worked to inform the Department of Defense on new technologies for the detection of infectious diseases at U.S. ports.

For more information about the ceremony or the 2018 Alumni Awards, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 803/323-2145 or

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