Faculty and Staff - November 18, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It was wonderful to see many of you at last week’s Homecoming events. Alison and I enjoyed talking with faculty, staff, students and alumni, and it was a nice reminder for us all to continue to be thankful for this more traditional and normal semester. I appreciate everything that you have done to help us successfully get to this point. It has truly been a campus-wide effort, and we are seeing good results from our diligence.

I wanted to update you on a few items that may interest you:

Byrnes Auditorium

In some long-awaited good news, the insurance settlement for Byrnes Auditorium was approved by the Board of Trustees at a called meeting on Nov. 17. In a unanimous vote, the board accepted the offer of $3.9 million for damage incurred by the August 2018 construction fire at Byrnes and that an additional $1.75 million from the unrestricted net position be reserved for the remaining costs for renovation and remediation not covered by the settlement. This is an exciting development that will allow us to move forward with the renovation and get this historic building back online as soon as possible.

Campus Master Plan Survey

Thanks to each of you who took the time to complete the Campus Master Plan survey. Your feedback is a vital part of the process, and I wanted to give you a breakdown of the survey’s respondents. There were more than 1,400 survey responses, including: alumni, 36 percent; faculty/staff, 31 percent; undergraduate students, 11 percent; graduate students, 6 percent; community members/others, 2 percent. Quackenbush, our consulting firm that administered the survey, was pleased with the overall response rate. Now, the consultants are analyzing results and preparing for the next phase in the process.

Dec. 2 Vaccination Clinic

The final COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the semester will be held on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in McBryde Hall. All three vaccines, including boosters, will be offered to eligible students, faculty, staff, and eligible employee (immediate household) family members, such as spouses. Please see this message for more details. I was very encouraged when I heard that the November clinic gave more than 180 vaccines, many of which were boosters to students. Please take advantage of this on-campus opportunity to increase your individual and family safety, as well as campus protection, due to increased socialization that is expected around the holidays. 

Holiday Happenings
On Friday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m., the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council will host the Annual Tree Lighting on the front lawn. This year’s tree lighting will be in person, so I invite you attend and help us officially kick off the holiday season and the city’s Christmasville festival. The Winthrop RockHettes will perform, as will the Winthrop Collegiate Choir. Stay after the tree lighting to enjoy the 6:30 p.m. Rock Hill Christmas Parade. If you can’t attend the tree lighting in person, you can tune in to the Alumni Association’s Facebook Live stream of the event.

We will be celebrating our traditional Faculty/Staff holiday gathering a little differently this year. To show our appreciation for all that you do and to enjoy some holiday cheer together, a free meal in Eagle Eatery will be available to all faculty and staff on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Drop in any time during those hours to enjoy free food, prizes, a photo opportunity and fellowship with colleagues. Alison and I look forward to seeing you there.  

Two December Commencements

I am pleased to note that next month we will hold two Commencement ceremonies. On Saturday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m., we will celebrate our 2021 graduates, and then at 3 p.m., we will hold a belated Commencement ceremony for our 2020 graduates who did not get to experience an in-person Commencement because of COVID-19. We surveyed all 2020 graduates earlier this semester and found that many wanted to come back home to Winthrop to celebrate in person. I’m looking forward to double the celebration this December, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating our new and recent graduates.

Finally, as we enter this season of giving thanks, I am truly thankful for each of you, and Alison and I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.



George W. Hynd
Interim President