Faculty and Staff - November 15, 2023

What a fantastic Homecoming week!

It was wonderful to see many of you at last week’s Homecoming events. Among the highlights for me were participating in the faculty/staff alumni luncheon (I finally did the Spirit Check right!); seeing the fountain flowing once again; honoring our five outstanding alumni award winners; supporting our Eagles; and interacting with faculty, staff, students and alumni throughout the week. A big thank you goes out to everyone who had a role in planning and implementing such an awesome week of activities!

I wanted to update you on a few items that may be of interest:

Employee Satisfaction Survey Follow Up

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s Employee Engagement/Satisfaction Survey. I’m happy to report that 62 percent of faculty and staff responded to the survey, an increase from the 51 percent response rate from the 2018 survey. Next, the folks at Korn Ferry will take some time to review and analyze the data and provide information regarding themes and trends using the new data and the data from the 2018 survey.  We expect to be able to provide information to the campus when we return from the December holiday break.

Upcoming Board Meeting
The next meeting of the Winthrop Board of Trustees will be Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Be on the lookout for the meeting agenda which will be e-mailed to the campus community closer to those dates.

Holiday Happenings
On Friday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m., the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council will host the Annual Tree Lighting on the front lawn. Please join us as we officially kick off the holiday season. The Winthrop RockHettes will perform, as will the Winthrop Collegiate Choir. 

This year’s tree lighting will be a little different but still fantastic. To ensure the long-term health of our beloved Southern magnolia tree, we will forgo using traditional string lights. Instead, the tree will be illuminated with projected colored LED lights. Come early to purchase a luminary for $5 from the Student Alumni Council to add to the holiday glow around Tillman. Proceeds from the luminaries will support the Winthrop Fund. Stay after the tree lighting to enjoy the 6:30 p.m. Rock Hill Christmas Parade. If you can’t attend the tree lighting in person, you can tune in to the Alumni Association’s Facebook Live stream of the event.

A more formal e-mail invitation will be coming to you shortly, but Lauren and I would like for you to save the date of Thursday, Dec. 14, for a noon-2 p.m. drop-in holiday reception at the President’s House. Come and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and conversation as we embrace the holiday season. We hope to see you there. 

December Commencement

Let’s celebrate our graduates and their incredible accomplishments on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. Jane Thomas, our 2023 Distinguished Professor, will deliver the Commencement address. The university also will recognize Mr. John Winthrop with an honorary degree. Mr. Winthrop earned a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He is being recognized for his generous philanthropy and engagement with the university that bears his family’s name. Commencement is one of my favorite times, so please join me as we send our graduates off with the acknowledgement that they deserve.

Finally, as we enter this season of giving thanks, I am truly thankful for each of you and Winthrop. Lauren, the girls and I wish you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving.


Edward A. Serna