Faculty and Staff - December 15, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

It is finally time to bring 2020 to a close. In some ways the year has seemed to inch forward, but in other ways it has gone by in the blink of an eye. This year brought a lot of changes in all areas of our lives. I want to once again thank you for adapting to our new normal. And before we depart for the winter break, I wanted to update you on a few items:

Commencement Details

Saturday, Dec. 19, will be a special day for our graduates and their families. While we are not able to hold a traditional, in-person Commencement ceremony due to COVID-19, we want to give our December graduates a memorable send off. 

From 9 a.m.-noon on Dec. 19, December graduates will be able to pick up their diplomas in the West Center. The pick-up will be as follows: 

9-10 a.m., Arts and Sciences 

10-11 a.m., Business Administration

11 a.m.-noon, Education and Visual & Performing Arts

Graduate students will participate with their respective college. The diploma pick-up will include each graduate receiving his/her diploma, diploma cover, souvenir program, honor cord (if earned) and a gift from the alumni office. There also will be official Commencement photographers present to take photos of the graduates in their regalia. 

Safety measures will be in place: entrance into the West Center will be limited to graduates and Winthrop employees, masks will be required of all participants, and social distancing will be encouraged. I look forward to participating in this special time. 

At 3 p.m. on Dec. 19, a virtual Commencement ceremony will premiere to honor our December, August and May graduates. You will be able to access the ceremony via the Winthrop homepage that day at 3 p.m.

While neither of these events can truly replace the joyous celebration of a traditional ceremony where graduates are surrounded by family and friends, we will make these events as special as possible as we work to keep graduates, their families and the Winthrop community protected from COVID-19.

Ombuds Office

Based on feedback from the campus community, Winthrop has created an Ombuds office. The office provides an independent, confidential environment for faculty and staff to discuss campus-related concerns or problems. Jackie Concodora, director of health and counseling services, serves as Winthrop’s ombuds. The Ombuds office is providing remote services by appointment only via phone and Zoom. To schedule an appointment, please call 803/323-6076 and leave a message. You may also e-mail your contact information to ombuds@winthrop.edu and you will receive a return message. Please note that e-mail is not secure, so please refrain from including details about the reason for your inquiry. Thank you to Jackie for her willingness to serve in this important role.

Facilities Projects Update

I am pleased to report that by month’s end, the roof replacement on Johnson Hall and Dinkins Hall will be completed. The next project, which will begin in January, is the replacement of the roof and windows of McLaurin Hall. The project is expected to be completed in June 2021, and funding is being secured through the university’s capital reserve fund. Our appreciation goes to the facilities department that spearheads these necessary projects and keeps them moving along with minimal disruption to our campus operations.

In closing, thank you again for all that you do for Winthrop. However you spend the holiday season, I hope you do so joyfully and safely. I encourage you to re-read the Nov. 19 e-mail from human resources that detailed important COVID-related information for such breaks. My holiday wish is that we all greet the New Year in good health and spirits, ready to take on the spring semester.

With warm regards,


George W. Hynd
Interim President