Winthrop University: Winthrop to Honor 10 Prestigious Alumni at Awards Dinner
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Winthrop to Honor 10 Prestigious Alumni at Awards Dinner

October 06, 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Alumni Awards Dinner will be Saturday, Oct. 9. 
  • The prestigious group includes winners from 2021 and 2020, the latter of which weren’t publicly recognized last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Ten outstanding Winthrop University alumni will be honored for their service and professional achievements at the Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 9. 

The prestigious group includes winners from 2021 and 2020, the latter of which weren’t publicly recognized last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Learn more about the winners here. You can also check out the Alumni Awards page.

MARY MILDRED SULLIVAN AWARD 

This award, established in 1940, recognizes a Winthrop alumna for selfless dedication of time, energy and talent in service to others. 

2021: Sheila McMillan ’73 

Throughout her illustrious career, McMillan has paved the way as a “first,” including the first Black Senate attorney with the South Carolina Legislature (1980s-2000s) and the first female president of the South Carolina Black Lawyers Association. She was a managing attorney with Palmetto Legal Services (late 1970s). She currently holds South Carolina Bar and South Carolina Funeral Director licenses. 

McMillan has championed civil rights since the 1960s and been recognized with the Community Leader Award from the National Council of Negro Women and the “Ten for the Future” recognition from the Columbia Record, which is the former evening newspaper of The State newspaper. 

Read more about Sheila McMillan.  

2020: Lynn Mann Hornsby ’70 

Hornsby and her late husband, Clarence, established Winthrop University’s Hornsby Master of Liberal Arts Lecture Series for the purpose of providing a lectureship series at the university. The Hornsbys established the endowment during the university’s first capital campaign, the Lasting Achievement Campaign, in 1999.  

Since the Hornsby Master of Liberal Arts Lecture Series was established, there have been five visiting lecturers at Winthrop. Lecturers for the series are world-class speakers – published and award-winning authors and the like, who have shared their insights with Graduate School students in the Master of Liberal Arts program and the local community. 

Read more about Lynn Hornsby. 

ALGERNON SYDNEY SULLIVAN AWARD 

This award recognizes a Winthrop alumnus for selfless dedication of time, energy and talent in service to others. 

2021: Dick McCoy ’04 

Richard “Dick” McCoy ’04 is a retired pediatric physician in Rock Hill. Upon retirement in 2001, he enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program at Winthrop. Since 2004, he has been an adjunct professor at Winthrop and Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, North Carolina, teaching in the healthcare management programs.  

Dick and his wife, Jan, a retired pediatric neurologist, are among the charter members of the D. B. Johnson Society, which consists of a loyal group of individuals who have included Winthrop University in their estate plans. The McCoys established the Richard L. and Jan Shaw McCoy Endowed Scholarship at Winthrop in 2017, which to date has provided financial support to four Winthrop students studying healthcare administration. 

Read more about Dick McCoy. 

2020: Larry Williams ’81, ’84 

Certified Public Accountant Larry Williams retired in 2018 as the director of finance and the chief diversity officer for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Williams currently teaches accounting part time at Central Piedmont Community College and has taught part time for several other area colleges. He previously worked as vice president of finance and administration at Mitchell Community College, assistant controller at Winthrop University and as a state auditor for the State Budget and Control Board.  

During his time as a Winthrop employee, Williams served as the staff representative for the Winthrop University Alumni Association and as co-chair of the Black Greek Alumni Reunion and the chair of the Black Alumni Reunion. He was instrumental in starting the student chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) through the College of Business Administration and hired several Winthrop students as interns in accounting and information technology while employed with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.  

Read more about Larry Williams. 

ALUMNI DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD 

This award recognizes a Winthrop alumna/us who significantly contributes to the quality of life in his or her community, the development of values and morals within others and serves as an outstanding citizen. 

2021: Isaiah Venning ’95, ’00 

Venning currently serves on Winthrop’s Board of Trustees as an alumni representative holding one of the two alumni-elected seats. On the state level, Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys appointed him to serve on the Carolina Community Actions (CCA) Board to represent the public sector. CCA aims to promote the self-sufficiency of low-income people.  

Locally, he serves on the city’s Community Relations Council, promoting respect for, appreciation of, and understanding of diversity of the community and its people. In his council role, he is a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, the Black History program and the National Race Equality Week committees. He has also served in leadership roles for Rock Hill Schools as former president of the School Improvement Council and as the current treasurer for the parent teacher organization (PTO) for Old Pointe Elementary School. He volunteers regularly at area schools, which earned him the district’s Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2017. 

Read more about Isaiah Venning. 

2020: Pat Rambow Robertson ’67 

Robertson has remained a true friend to her alma mater. She’s a fund contact for the Class of 1967 scholarship, which was established to honor and celebrate the Winthrop experience of the Class of 1967. The scholarship provides support to freshmen who have a GPA of 2.8 or greater and freshmen who are veterans or who are from the family of a veteran.  

She has served in a number of leadership capacities as a former member of the board of directors for the Winthrop University Foundation (1992-2014); former member and chair of the Annual Giving Advisory Council (1999-2008); former member of the Lasting Achievement Campaign Cabinet (1998-2005); and former member and gift chair of the Alumni Reunion Committee (1997-1998). She also has served as a hostess for numerous alumni events in the Atlanta area, where she and her husband lived for many years. 

Read more about Pat Rambow Robertson. 

ALUMNI PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 

This award is presented to an alumna/us who has made significant contributions to his or her professional field while exemplifying high moral and business ethics. 

2021: Gregg Davis ’92 

As the senior director of systems engineering at biotech startup Curative, Inc. – which focuses on COVID-19 testing – Davis has helped build laboratory capacity and scale COVID-19 testing across the nation. With this work, Davis hopes what they’ve learned will lead to creating a more efficient healthcare system capable of handling future challenges. 

Before his Curative, Inc., position, as SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, emerged, Davis took on two important roles: he joined George Washington University’s COVID response committee, developing policies and procedures aimed at protecting the university community; and returned to the lab, working with colleagues to culture SARS-CoV-2, develop molecular diagnostic tests for the virus, and build research and clinical laboratory capacity. 

He has worked as a research associate for Tera Biotechnology, Inc.; in research labs in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland; and in various labs/departments in the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. 

Read more about Gregg Davis. 

2020: Kevin James ’01 

James has a career that spans over 20 years as a higher education administrator, professor, executive business leader and motivational speaker. He currently serves as the 19th president of Morris Brown College, a historical Black college in Atlanta, Georgia. He helped re-brand the institution and successfully regained Morris Brown’s accreditation candidacy by the Department of Education. Under his leadership, he has stabilized finances; increased fundraising; expanded and revised academic offerings; and led the college in reaching record-breaking enrollment increases from over the past 20 years. Most recently, James announced Morris Brown’s $30 million partnership with Hilton Hotels Worldwide and CGI Merchant Group to develop a hotel on the college’s campus that provides students with hospitality training in the hotel and restaurants industries. 

Read more about Kevin James.  

OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD 

This 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. 

2021: Chelsea Brown ’14 

Brown, the Corporate Purpose Specialist for Nasdaq, coordinates cross-functional efforts to drive engagement, programs, and partnerships with nonprofit and for-profit partners internationally, and boasts nearly a decade of experience in philanthropy, fundraising, sponsorships and grantmaking. She formerly served as the community philanthropy and partnership specialist for The SEED School of Maryland, where she worked closely on corporate and foundation partnerships on social responsibility policies, programs and goals in education and diversity initiatives, cultivated grants and gifts, and implemented strategies on funding partnerships, and volunteerism. 

At her alma mater, she established a scholarship fund in her name, which is given annually to a Winthrop student who is either a graduate of The SEED School of Maryland, or a student from Columbia, South Carolina, pursuing a mass communication degree. She completed a Master of Public Policy in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Maryland in 2021. 

Read more about Chelsea Brown. 

2020: Kambrell Garvin ’13 

Garvin, an attorney with McGowan, Hood & Felder, currently serves as a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing House District 77 in Richland County, Columbia, South Carolina. 

A longtime equitable education advocate, Garvin joined Teach for America after graduating from Winthrop and later worked as a public school educator for three years in Walterboro, South Carolina. During that period, he was a member of the South Carolina Education Association. Wanting to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather - the first Black representative of his local city council - Garvin entered the political arena in 2018. 

Read more about Kambrell Garvin. 

For questions about the Alumni Awards Dinner, contact the Alumni Association office at 803/323-2145 or e-mail alumni@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 10/7/21