Winthrop First Lady Launches Women in Philanthropy Group

March 01, 2017

Quick Facts

bullet point The coalition's leadership council is made up of the following: First Lady Laura Mahony, Vivian Moore Carroll ˜73, Elaine Whitton Davis, Shirley Herlong Fishburne '72, ˜73, Jan Shaw McCoy and Hazel Bailes Somerville '69.
bullet point The coalition's next event is set for March 8 at 7 p.m. in Richardson Ballroom, titled Question Bridge: Women's Voices International Women's Day panel on Women Firsts.

Laura Mahony

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — Winthrop University First Lady Laura Mahony recently launched the Winthrop Women's Coalition. The coalition was created to bring together strong, accomplished, philanthropic women who want to get more engaged and involved with the university.

The Winthrop Women's Coalition promotes philanthropy and transforms the lives of Winthrop students, while providing its members with opportunities for personal and professional growth.

"During my first six months with Winthrop, I kept meeting and hearing from women who are affiliated with Winthrop, have been impacted by an experience at Winthrop, or who are committed to the Rock Hill community. Their comments began to reveal a common thread: they want to get more engaged with the university; they want to get involved and make a difference; they want to share their passion for Winthrop; and they want to do more for their alma mater, but don't know what to do. This led to the founding of the Winthrop Women's Coalition," said Mahony, who developed the vision to bring together a cohesive, powerful group of women that can do great things together.

The Winthrop Women's Coalition is spearheaded by a leadership council that is made up of ambassadors who share the vision for Winthrop and are already positively impacting transformation. The leadership council includes Mahony, Vivian Moore Carroll ˜73, Elaine Whitton Davis, Shirley Herlong Fishburne '72, ˜73, Jan Shaw McCoy and Hazel Bailes Somerville '69.

"The goal is to combine women who want to get more involved with the university with women who have already demonstrated a commitment to Winthrop and philanthropy," Mahony added.

The coalition has held two kickoff events to date and a third event is planned for Wednesday, March 8, where the coalition will participate in its first campus engagement event, Question Bridge: Women's Voices International Women's Day panel on Women Firsts, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the DiGiorgio Campus Center's Richardson Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

The panel consists of leadership council members Vivian Carroll, who worked for one of the first financial planners in the country, and Jan McCoy, Rock Hill's first female doctor, who will be joined by Dorothy Killian, the first African-American woman Rock Hill City Judge; Chisa Johnson Putman '03, one of the first African-American women magistrates in York County; and Cynthia Plair Roddey '67, Winthrop's first African-American graduate student.

"This panel event is a perfect example of why the Winthrop Women's Coalition was created. We want our group to gather with members of the community and Winthrop students for interaction and engagement. We want to learn from the experiences of other women and support key programming that allows students the opportunity for the same interaction," Mahony added.

How to Join the Winthrop Women's Coalition

Membership in the Winthrop Women's Coalition includes: opportunities for women to gather together, network, and connect with others of diverse ages, backgrounds, careers and skills; invitations to exclusive university and presidential events; increased personal and professional development through campus experiences; and access to information about the university's needs and strategic plans.

Membership, through the donation of an annual gift, supports strategic initiatives through the Winthrop Women's Coalition Fund.

Learn more about the group by hearing from coalition members in this video or by visiting the coalition's website.

For more information on the Winthrop Women's Coalition, including how to join, please contact Chrissy Catoe, the coalition's institutional advancement liaison, at 803/323-4903 or e-mail

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