Winthrop University Home Page
Menu Header


Five Alumni Honored During 2015 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend Nov. 13-14

Quick Facts

 Winthrop alumni Mickey Taylor '60; Sylvester Owens '03, '06; Nancy Donnelly '77; Herbert Johnson '01, '13; and Rachel Heidenberg '10 are the 2015 Alumni Award winners.
 The ceremony will be held Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. in McBryde Hall.

Mickey Taylor
Sylvester Owens
Nancy Donnelly
Herbert Johnson
Rachel Heidenberg
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Five outstanding Winthrop alumni will be honored for their service and professional achievements as Winthrop University graduates during 2015 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend Nov. 13-14.

This year’s Alumni Award winners will be recognized during the Nov. 14 Alumni Awards luncheon at 11 a.m. in McBryde Hall. The winners are listed below:

Martha Sue “Mickey” Taylor ’60, Mary Mildred Sullivan Award – Taylor, who earned her B.S. in physical education at Winthrop, served as chair for Winthrop’s Department of Physical Education, Sport, and Human Performance (PESH) and taught for more than 20 years. The Greenville, South Carolina, native has tutored Winthrop staff members, taught English as a Second Language, volunteered with a River Park Advisory group and with Hospice, helped found the Children’s Attention Home Charter School, worked in a therapy dog program for nursing homes, pushed Winthrop to offer geocaching sites on campus to attract new visitors and even earned Master Gardener status. In 2002, PESH designated Taylor a distinguished alumna.

R. Sylvester Owens ’03, ’06, Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award – Owens, a native of Chester, South Carolina, has remained active with his alma mater. Now the senior associate director of alumni relations at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Owens worked previously in alumni and fundraising at Winthrop, where he led an initiative to create “Garnet and Gold Fridays” and helped secure nearly $1 million for Winthrop scholarships and special projects. Owens was active during his time at Winthrop, where he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., chaired the York County Martin Luther King Jr. Taskforce and volunteered with youth, service and chamber groups.

The Sullivan awards recognize alumni for selfless dedication of time, energy and talent in service to others.

Nancy Donnelly ’77, Alumni Distinguished Service Award – Former Winthrop Alumni Association Board President Nancy Donnelly of Asheville, North Carolina, dedicates her time to Project Healing Waters, an organization geared to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans; the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association; the Avon Three Day Walk for Breast Cancer; the Ronald McDonald House; and the Paws with a Purpose therapy dog program. Donnelly works as a full-time consultant in the field of information technology and process re-engineering.

Herbert J. Johnson ’01, ’13, Alumni Professional Achievement Award – The choral director at Lakewood High School in Sumter, South Carolina, has excelled as an educator, choral director, singer and composer. Johnson has taught at all levels, including elementary, middle, high and collegiate, and he is the recipient of the Community Services Association of Charlotte’s Community Champion Award for services in the area of music instruction. In addition, Johnson is a two-time Grammy music educator who received Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Awards from Bessemer City High School and Lakewood High School. He remains in demand as a clinician for church music workshops as well as high school district honors choirs and festivals. The composer also has competed successfully in several vocal competitions.

Rachel A. Heidenberg ’10, Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Heidenberg, a licensed attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, serves as the lead defense attorney in Girls Court (one of only seven in the U.S.), where she works in the juvenile division defending children charged with criminal offenses. She also works annually as a volunteer at Camp Happy Days, a summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings based in Charleston, South Carolina. During her time at Winthrop, Heidenberg served as president of the university’s Honors Association, a Winthrop Ambassador and a Peer Mentor.

Visit to register now for the Nov. 14 Alumni Awards luncheon. For more information about the ceremony or the 2015 Alumni Awards, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 803/323-2145 or

[Back to Previous Page]

© Winthrop University · 701 Oakland Avenue · Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA · 803/323-2211