Faculty and Staff - May 4, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

 As remote learning and exams conclude this week, I believe a collective sigh of relief is in order for the campus community. Truly, you have all accomplished what some might have thought impossible over the last half of the spring semester. As we pivoted to (for most of us) a totally new mode of teaching, learning, and working in response to COVID-19, we were stretched in unimaginable ways, yet succeeded in making it through this most unusual set of circumstances. Congratulations and well done! I am proud to be your interim president.

We have received many questions in recent days about the status of Commencement. As I shared previously, the Commencement Committee was tasked to recommend to senior leadership options for how we might appropriately recognize and celebrate our graduates. The group considered feedback members received about hosting a virtual ceremony this month, but ultimately chose to recommend a more traditional in-person event reflecting the desires of our graduates. I ask you to save the date for Winthrop University’s Commencement on Saturday, August 15, 2020.

This was not an easy decision as there remains much uncertainty about where we will be as a state and a nation in three months’ time. However, the committee and senior leadership felt strongly that students' Winthrop experiences should not end without appropriate recognition and celebration. Therefore, we will remain hopeful about the status of gatherings in mid-August and will share more details as we move forward with our plans. 

In the meantime, this week remains an important milestone, and we have a robust plan to celebrate and inspire our graduates through social media and our website. All of our official Winthrop social media channels will have posts and information on the accomplishments of the Winthrop community, and a new website will debut on Saturday, May 9, when undergraduate Commencement was scheduled to take place. I encourage you to visit these virtual places to see and read about all that is happening during what remains a time of reflection and celebration. Graduates should watch their email for details from Records and Registration about posting of degrees, receipt of diplomas, and other logistics.

Among the highlights of Commencement is the announcement of faculty award winners, and I would like to direct your attention to our news release with details regarding our three deserving recipients: Brad Witzel, professor of education and program director of special education (Distinguished Professor Award); Crystal Glover, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy (Outstanding Junior Professor); and Adriana Cordis, associate professor of accounting (LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award). I commend these faculty members and thank them for their excellent, student-centered work.

As we prepare to conclude Winthrop’s 134th academic year this summer, I once again thank you for your patience and resilience as we continue to navigate uncharted waters. It is my sincere hope to safely see you all on campus August 15, and I certainly look forward to what will be a memorable celebration worthy of the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 and the community that has steadfastly supported these graduates.

With warm regards,  


George W. Hynd
Interim President