Alumni and Friends - March 2, 2021

Dear Alumni and Friends:

Today marks a year since I began the interim presidency at Winthrop University. Last year on this day I reached out to you and others with a message of excitement and optimism over the prospect of being meaningfully connected with Winthrop constituents, reaching out to supporters, and learning more about this university’s aspirations and challenges. I was energized and hopeful one year ago, and I remain so, even after all that COVID-19 has thrown at us over the last year. Our world has witnessed gut-wrenching impact on the families of those stricken by this virus and unprecedented disruption to our way of life. On campus we have been nimble and responsive in changing times, and I am immensely proud of our Winthrop family for continuing to deliver the exemplary educational experience for which this institution is known.

In recent days we have made decisions that reflect my growing optimism about the promise that vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 are bringing to South Carolina. First, earlier today I announced a decision for the university to offer to all May graduates who are interested an indoor Commencement ceremony in the Winthrop Coliseum, which will be similar to graduation ceremonies of the past, but with safety-related requirements in place. Please read the press release for more details and know that we are so pleased to be able to honor our graduates and rejoice in their accomplishments in a fitting, but safe, way. 

Also, I am excited to share that we are anticipating a fall semester that will be more representative of the Winthrop experience you remember with additional in-person classes, extracurricular activities and events that mean so much to current students and families. We do not expect to drop our safety requirements, but rather, we will continue to be guided by what public health experts advise and what is best to ensure the health and safety of our campus community. We are hopeful that our faculty and staff will be able to be vaccinated soon, and recent on-campus surveys indicate most of our employees very much desire vaccination.  

Finally, our leadership team is working harder than ever to put the university on a positive financial trajectory following the revenue losses associated with the pandemic. I shared details just last week with our faculty and staff about the many initiatives we have undertaken, and I encourage you to read about them as well. We know that getting Winthrop on solid ground financially post-pandemic will not be easy or quick, but in the long term, it will help us preserve jobs, fund future compensation initiatives, and keep our university the unique and wonderful place that we know it to be. 

I hope you appreciate these updates as I celebrate one year into my interim presidency. In the next 16 months the campus will continue our work on reviewing the Winthrop Plan, new budget modeling, the Academic Master Plan, the Campus Master Plan, the Campus Beautification Initiative, and preparations for a future comprehensive fundraising campaign. Watch for our next online Winthrop Magazine later this month with updates on a few of these. 

I value you and your role in helping us continue our tradition of delivering a student-centered academic experience that is second to none. In spite of 2020’s many challenges, Winthrop’s extended family of alumni and donors has remained committed to providing resources during difficult times. Consider that in the last calendar year…

·       3,218 donors gave to Winthrop

·       670 donors made their first gift

·       2,354 graduates gave back, and

·       306 donors contributed to the Student Emergency and Assistance Fund

Thank you for your continued loyalty and support over the last year! Please explore my communications page and our news releases for more information on all that is happening on campus.

Winthrop Ever Stand,


George W. Hynd
Interim President