Faculty and Staff - November 18, 2022

What a Homecoming week!

It was wonderful to see many of you at last week’s Homecoming events. Among the highlights for me were: celebrating my 20-year reunion; participating in the faculty/staff alumni luncheon; honoring our five deserving alumni award winners; walking around the tailgating area and then attending the basketball game; and talking with faculty, staff, students and alumni throughout the week. Thank you to everyone who had a role in planning and implementing such a great week of activities. It was truly a campus-wide effort!

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

VP for University Advancement Candidate Visits

I want to thank everyone who had a hand in coordinating or participating in our three candidate visits earlier this week, not to mention the search committee that identified the candidates – P.N. Saksena (chair), Monica Bennett, Chuck Rey, Gary Simrill, and Robert Wildman. I hope you had a chance to learn more about the experience and vision each of the candidates offers. Feedback on the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses will be accepted through Nov. 30 through email to the president@winthrop.edu account.

Esports Valorant Team Excitement

Winthrop’s esports Valorant team under Head Coach Josh Sides is competing in Dallas this Saturday in the Red Bull Campus Clutch, a global student esports tournament open only to college and university students. U.S. online and offline qualifiers ran August through November, and our team is one of 14 of the best teams nationally to compete at the Esports Stadium Arlington. The winner of the U.S. final will advance to the global final in São Paulo, Brazil, in December. Let’s cheer on these talented Eagle athletes as they battle for the U.S. Champion title!

Dec. 1 Vaccination Clinic

Fall has arrived and that means cold and flu season is upon us in full force coupled with the continued presence of COVID and other respiratory illnesses. S.C. DHEC representatives will be back on campus to hold an additional flu and COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in McBryde Hall. Free flu shots and COVID-19 bivalent boosters (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech) will be available during this walk-in event for faculty, staff and students. Attendees will need to bring their COVID vaccine cards to show they are at least two months past a primary or booster vaccination. As the holiday season approaches and festive gatherings begin, getting vaccinated against flu and COVID is a great way to help protect yourself, your family members and the campus community against these unwanted illnesses. 

Holiday Happenings
On Friday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m., the Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Council will host the Annual Tree Lighting on the front lawn. My family and I are excited to experience this tradition for the first time, and I invite you to join us so that we can officially kick off the holiday season and the city’s Christmasville festival. The Winthrop RockHettes will perform, as will the Winthrop Collegiate Choir. Come early to purchase a luminary for $3 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 Tuesday, Dec. 6, for a 3-5 p.m. drop-in holiday reception at the President’s House. Come and enjoy treats and conversation with your peers as we celebrate the holiday season. We hope to see you there.

December Commencement

Adding to my list of “Winthrop firsts,” I look forward to attending and presiding over my first Commencement ceremony next month. When I graduated from Winthrop in 2002, I already had moved and started my graduate work, so I was unable to attend my own undergraduate Commencement ceremony. So I’m excited to participate in the ceremony as president and as a Winthrop alumnus. Please join me to celebrate our most recent graduates and their incredible accomplishments on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum.

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


Edward A. Serna