Faculty and Staff - December 20, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Winthrop senior Nicholas Paul Firimonte of Blythewood, South Carolina. A gifted saxophonist and music writer, Nick was a music performance major at Winthrop with a focus in composition. He passed away on Thursday, December 17, 2020.  

Dr. Mark Lewis, Nicholas’ composition professor and advisor, shared that Nick was a smart and funny student. He twice made the dean’s list while at Winthrop and was in the honor’s program. One of Nick’s favorite Winthrop experiences was attending a composition festival in Italy. His favorite composer was Morton Feldman.  Nick was also a member of Winthrop’s military-connected community, having taken a brief semester hiatus from his studies in fall 2019 to join the South Carolina National Guard. 

Dr. Lewis said Nick’s sense of humor in the classroom will be missed.  Describing him as “super hilarious,” Dr. Lewis said Nick’s witty comments and love for composition will be remembered. Nick’s family shared that he loved boating and especially enjoyed cruising the Caribbean with them.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kornegay and Moseley, 4645 Hard Scrabble, Columbia, SC 29229. Services will be held at 11am on Tuesday, December 22.  In lieu of flowers, the Firimonte family requests that donations be made in Nicholas’ name to Christian Assistance Bridge (CAB), 126, Blythewood Road, Blythewood, SC 29016. Condolences can be shared via the Kornegay and Moseley tribute page at https://www.kornegayandmoseley.com/obituary/NicholasPaul-Firimonte.

News about the death of a student is difficult and challenging to process particularly in light of the challenging year that we’ve all had. Faculty and staff are welcome to contact the Employee Assistance Program for assistance with grief counseling.  In addition to individual counseling, the EAP website offers online resources associated with grief and loss.  To view all of the online resources, click on the “My Portal Login” in the upper righthand corner of the website and then select the Work-Life Box (to the left of Employee).  Log in using:  Username: winthrop303 and Password: guest

Our thoughts are with Nick’s family and friends, and each of you.


George W. Hynd, Ph.D.                                                       Shelia Higgs Burkhalter, MBA, MSEd

Interim President                                                                  Vice President for Student Affairs