Faculty and Staff - April 15, 2024

I am writing today to let you know of an upcoming cabinet-level change that is effective immediately. Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs/CFO Justin Oates resigned today after more than six years at Winthrop. At our recent town hall for faculty/staff, Justin alluded to some changes that would soon be announced. He approached me in March about stepping down from his role, and while I am saddened by Justin's decision to resign, I understand and respect his desire to pursue new opportunities in his career.

Kevin Butler, the retired senior vice president for finance and business operations at Nevada State College, has been appointed as interim chief financial officer and vice president for business affairs. Kevin has been assisting Justin and the finance and business area on a temporary basis for the last month, and he has graciously agreed to fill the role in the interim.

In his role at Nevada State College, Kevin demonstrated exemplary leadership in managing the college’s financial, human, and physical resources. He has spearheaded initiatives to develop new business strategies, implement transparent budget processes, and oversee comprehensive campus capital projects, including the construction and renovation of numerous buildings. In addition, Kevin helped to drive enrollment from 2,200 students to more than 7,600 students. This experience is critical for Winthrop as it continues to develop its facilities to align with Winthrop's strategic plan.

Although stepping down from his role as CFO, Justin will continue to contribute to Winthrop's success as a special assistant to the president through June. He will assist with completing specific projects and aid in the transition of the budget into the next fiscal year.

We certainly appreciate all the impactful contributions Justin has made over the years, and I have personally enjoyed getting to know him since I became president. By all accounts, his efforts have been integral to the solid financial foundation that the university now enjoys, and he has helped our Board of Trustees immensely in a deeper understanding of the complexities of our budget, financial obligations, and planning for the future. He played a vitally important role in the university’s successful operations during and following the pandemic. In addition, his commitment to data-driven decision making has set us up for success as we prepare to undertake the priorities of our Winthrop: United in Excellence strategic plan. Justin has truly cared about Winthrop and our community and always wanted what is best for the university.

Please reach out to me directly with any questions, and I do ask for some grace for Kevin and divisional personnel as they navigate this transition.

As always, thank you for all that you do for Winthrop.


Edward Serna