Faculty and Staff - May 10, 2023

As we come off of three successful Commencement ceremonies last week, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on this academic year and to say thank you for all that we have accomplished together. I am grateful for each and every one of you. From the hard work of our students, faculty and staff to the loyalty and support of our alumni and donors, we have much to celebrate.

In the fall we again were named as a top public regional university in the U.S. News rankings and we also were once again included in categories for best undergraduate teaching, best value, best for veterans and for social mobility, and for the fifth year our student voting efforts were recognized by Washington Monthly. We hosted the S.C. Supreme Court for two public sessions, and our SACSCOC reaffirmation went through with flying colors.

This spring we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the African American Studies program, continued our work with Gray Associates to analyze our instructional economics data in clear and actionable ways, held our most successful Giving Day to date, saw our esports team win the inaugural Big South Championship, were awed by our stellar students’ research at the SOURCE conference, and recognized several well-deserving faculty members and outstanding students with various awards.

We also kicked off, in March, the new strategic plan process. I am grateful for your involvement as we continue to shape this plan and look forward to the Board of Trustees working to fine tune our mission, vision and values.

We are making progress with new initiatives like Competency-Based Education, the Campus Master Plan and other facilities and beautification enhancements, and bringing in external dollars (which thrills this former grant writer!) Just this week, we received a $500,000 National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant to modernize statewide health care diagnostics and treatment with the use of artificial intelligence.  

We have made major strides on our Flight Ready QEP, an initiative that defines true campus partnership and collaboration. The university community also has worked diligently as a team to help our campus visits and recruitment events reach their highest attendance levels since before the pandemic. I’m happy to report that we are currently ahead 18 percent in New Freshmen Enrollment Deposits from where we ended last year – and we still have two more months of recruitment to go! 

Finally, we have strengthened our community outreach with the creation of a state-of-the-art esports facility in a fantastic location in University Center at Knowledge Park and further cultivated our work with Rock Hill Schools and many other school districts through initiatives that are wide ranging, on going and important. 

There are so many wonderful things that have happened in my first year as your president, and I am thankful for the enthusiasm and dedication you have consistently shown each other and our other stakeholders this year. We are looking toward a bright future, thanks to your efforts.

I hope you have a wonderful summer, and you are able to recharge and make memories with your family and friends until we see each other again.

Always an Eagle,


Edward A. Serna