Winthrop President Edward Serna Shares Positive Updates at Welcome Back Event

August 14, 2023


  • Now in his second year as president, Serna told the crowd that the gathering gives him the opportunity to share updates ahead of the new academic year.
  • Since last year, overall undergraduate enrollment, freshman enrollment and the number of transfers attending are all up. 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University President Edward Serna ’02 greeted faculty and staff members at an Aug. 14 Welcome Back event as the institution starts its 138th academic year next week. 

Now in his second year as president, Serna told the crowd that the gathering is one of his favorite events because it gives everyone a chance to catch up. It also gave him the opportunity to share updates ahead of the new academic year.

Serna’s announcements included the following:

  • Since last year, overall undergraduate enrollment is up 6% to 3,382 students; freshman enrollment is up nearly 28% to 906 students; and transfer students are up 15% at 268 students. To date, nearly 90% of students eligible to return from the spring semester have already registered for fall classes. 
  • Two new degree programs will roll out next fall: a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business analytics. Serna said Winthrop will ideally offer new degrees or programs every year.
  • The College of Education has taken on a new name to be more inclusive of its offerings. It is now the Richard W. Riley College of Education, Sport and Human Sciences.
  • The Strategic Planning initiative will continue next month with a series of town halls involving all stakeholder groups. 
  • Competency-based education modalities are in the works to appeal to adult and non-traditional students. This flexible approach allows students to advance through their coursework at their own pace based on their ability to master a skill or competency. 
  • Campus infrastructure enhancements ramped up over the summer with curb cuts, painting, pressure washing, landscaping, residence hall refreshes, classroom technology and AV improvements, fire alarm replacements, the demolition of the old fountain and creation of a new concrete base, and the kickoff of work on Byrnes Auditorium. Serna added that soon the brick columns along Oakland Avenue will be coming down to help unify the look of the two sides of campus as well as so those driving by can get a better view of the campus.
  • Two information sessions about the Campus Master Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Trustees in June, will be held in September.
  • Work is underway to rollout a cost realignment for all students beginning in fall 2024, led by the enrollment and finance divisions. 

At the end of his remarks, Serna emphasized that it’s time to take Winthrop’s message to the community that the university is on the rise and that the future is bright. He encouraged those in attendance to correct misinformation and share what is happening at the university with those outside the campus community. 

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at or at 803/323-2404.

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