Faculty and Staff - March 20, 2023

We’re officially sprinting to the finish line!

I hope everyone was able to enjoy some fun (and rest!) during spring break. Whatever your plans included, I hope it recharged you for our spring semester big finish. It’s hard to believe the end of the semester is in sight! You may have noticed that campus has been extra busy these last few weeks as groups, like the S.C. All-State Chorus and upcoming Model United Nations participants, visit Winthrop. It’s always exciting to see all of these prospective students experiencing these special events at Winthrop. We hope to count many of them among our students in the next few years!

As we will soon round the corner into April, I want to update you on the following items:

April 14 Inauguration Details

Later this month the promotion surrounding my inauguration and investiture will roll out. A news release and website will launch, and there will be flurry of activity as we plan to invite a variety of folks to experience our campus and community first hand. I hope you will join me at the investiture ceremony which will be held at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. The keynote speaker will be my mentor, former colleague and friend, Dr. Paul Beran. During my time at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, I had the honor of working with Paul, who was the institution’s chancellor. He and I both assumed presidencies on July 1, 2022, me here at Winthrop and he as interim president at Western Connecticut State University. I’m thrilled to have him and all of you participate in such a meaningful moment in my life and in the life of this university.

Following the ceremony, there will be a 12:30 p.m. community picnic on the Campus Green, followed by a full slate of events later that afternoon, including the SOURCE research conference, a dance showcase, a film discussion, the DSU Awards and Installation Ceremony, softball and baseball games, Come-See-Me festival activities, and more. What an awesome celebration of Winthrop!

Strategic Planning

I also am excited to share that our partners at Berkeley Research Group (BRG) will tentatively be on campus March 27-31 and April 17-21 to continue their research--presenting, meeting and working with various constituents as we focus on achieving a collaborative and inclusive strategic planning process. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee, led by Special Assistant to the President for Community Engagement Gary Simrill, is composed of Shelia Burkhalter, vice president for student affairs; Kevin Hughes, vice president for university advancement; Chris Johnson, sustainability coordinator; Zan Jones, associate vice president and chief diversity officer; Alice McLaine, acting chair of faculty conference, associate professor and director of the athletic training program; Joe Miller, vice president for enrollment management and marketing; Chuck Rey, athletic director; Leah Simmonds, staff conference vice chair and alumni career program director; and Meg Webber, vice provost for academic affairs and executive director of the Center for Professional Excellence. Stay tuned for more about BRG’s efforts, what they are doing in their learning phase and what guideposts will mark progress moving forward.

Esports Team Wins Big South Conference Tournament

The Big South Conference hosted its inaugural Esports Championship featuring Rocket League earlier this month, and our team brought home the championship trophy with a win over Radford. Congratulations to Coach Josh Sides and the players! Since its launch in 2019, the program has won two national championships, one conference title, and appeared in eight major tournaments. This weekend the team is sponsoring, along with Visit York County and Carowinds, Rock the Winds, a competition featuring the Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Rivals of Aether games. Esports is expanding to include JV and club divisions, providing an inclusive environment for gamers of all levels of experience and interest. Watch for an announcement on the expansion effort coming soon.

There’s a lot happening, with even more exciting end-of-semester events coming in April. As always, thank you for your part in helping make Winthrop a vibrant place to live, learn and work.

Edward A. Serna