Faculty and Staff - July 18, 2023

Here’s to you!

At last month’s Board of Trustees meeting, I mentioned winding down my first year as your president and noted my thanks to the campus community for not only the warm welcome you provided me and my family, but also the hard work and adjustment that came with the presidential transition. I’m very excited for the future and the positivity I’m seeing in our collaborative work inter-divisionally, campus-wide, and externally with partners and stakeholders. Thank you once again!

Now on to some updates…

Winthrop Budget Update

At a specially called June 29 Board of Trustees meeting, a resolution was passed to give university administration through Aug. 31 to present the 2023-24 university budget to trustees for approval. The new fiscal year budget will likely come before the board for approval during a virtual meeting later next month. 

Welcome Back and Convocation/Blue Line

Please save the date for our Welcome Back event on Monday, Aug. 14, at 10 a.m. in McBryde Hall. I’ll deliver some brief remarks and then we’ll spend the rest of the time catching up with one another. On Monday, Aug. 21, at 11 a.m., we will hold Convocation in the West Center. Following Convocation, which will mark the start of our 138th academic year, the Blue Line will process to the front lawn for our traditional picnic. More information will be coming about these events, but please mark them on your calendar.

Changes Underway

There are a few projects underway that I would like to note because they are prominent along our front campus and already are of interest to our neighbors and the community at large. Help us spread the word about these plans so that everyone is aware of the exciting developments impacting the campus landscape. 

  • First, the Fountain Restoration Project has entered the construction phase. Last month, a crew removed the fountain and the flagpole, and a new concrete slab was poured which is now curing.Next month, the new fountain will be assembled as various parts arrive on campus, followed by paver installment in September. Read more about the tentative timeline here. We are hopeful the entire project will wrap up by the end of the year. And as a reminder, this project is 100 percent funded by donor and grant support.
  • Secondly, and some would say at long last, the fence pillars along Oakland Avenue will come down in the coming months. You’ll remember that portions of the fence were removed last fall due to their poor condition. This allowed us to re-envision our front campus as a more open and welcoming landscape representative of our desire to partner with the community and make our stakeholders feel like they belong here. A study of the fences, entryways and gates grew out of the Campus Master Plan, and now we have designs for these, pending future funding. 
  • By the end of this year then, a lot will have changed on the front campus….and just in time for the holidays, if we’re lucky. That brings me to another re-envisioning—this one of how we will tentatively light the beloved Southern magnolia in this and future years. We sought the advice of arborists who have encouraged us to remove the metal scaffolding along the tree’s trunk that has served for many years to attach lights to the top of the tree. This step will help ensure the continued health of the tree. I’m also pleased that we are exploring a promising alternative to the string lights—projected colored LED lights—which would continue our tradition yet be more sustainable in the future. I will add that the programming feature of the tree lighting ceremony, which spotlights our talented students, will remain the same.

Thank you once again for helping us get the word out about these exciting developments. As always, I appreciate all that you do for Winthrop. Please enjoy the rest of the summer, and I look forward to seeing you soon!


Edward A. Serna