Faculty and Staff - October 18, 2022

The countdown is on!

We have reached the midpoint of the fall semester, and it’s hard to believe that we’ll soon be talking about exams, Commencement and the holidays (my family is excited to experience our first Winthrop tree lighting as well as Christmasville!)

Since my last update, I have met more of you, traveled to Columbia to advocate for Winthrop (more on this below), hosted my first Ask Me Anything session and talked with students during office hours. I have been nothing but impressed by our students, and getting to know them is a pleasure. I’ve also met many of our Rock Hill and Myrtle Beach alumni during recent alumni chapter receptions. I’m looking forward to visiting with Charlotte alumni at a reception next month. It’s been a busy and rewarding few weeks!

I wanted to take a moment to share with you these items of interest:

S.C. Supreme Court Oral Arguments

We have a unique educational opportunity coming to campus next week as the S.C. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at the Winthrop Coliseum Oct. 25-26 in an effort to provide local citizens with a glimpse of how the state’s highest court works. Two criminal cases will be heard on Oct. 25 at 10 a.m. and at 11 a.m. Two insurance cases will be heard on Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. and at 11 a.m. The court’s visit is part of an initiative to increase the visibility and accessibility of the state’s judicial branch. We expect hundreds of Winthrop and local high school students, those in the legal profession and members of the community to attend the hearings. The event is free and open to the public. Read the press release for more information.

Fencing Around Campus

You may have noticed workers removing some of our fencing around the campus. The plan is to remove poor condition aluminum panels and any brick columns that are deteriorating. We will continue along Oakland and then down Stewart, leaving intact the fence at the President’s House and selected gate locations for now. We have started a study to look what happens at all gates/entries with the removal of portions of the fence before deciding what to do long term along Oakland. We also will begin to look at access to campus at the Stewart/railroad tracks vicinity to connect more purposefully to Knowledge Park. This is all an exciting outcome of the Master Plan process, so we will see where this first step with fencing takes us!

Vice President for University Advancement Search

The Myers McRae search firm is busy vetting more than 19 submitted applications for the vice president position. A Winthrop search committee has been formed and includes P.N. Saksena (chair), dean of the College of Business Administration; Chuck Rey, athletics director; Gary Simrill, special assistant to the president for community engagement; Monica Bennett, director of communications; and Robert Wildman, associate professor and director of the arts administration program. The search committee will serve in an advisory capacity to me and will be tasked with screening and recommending candidates for interview, conducting interviews, and providing feedback and comments to me so that I may make an informed decision in the best interest of the university. You’ll have an opportunity to meet each finalist during the on-campus interview process. The selected candidate will begin work on Jan. 2.

Fresh Check Day
Winthrop will hold its seventh Fresh Check Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Richardson Ballroom. Fresh Check Day, the signature program of the Jordan Porco Foundation, is an uplifting mental health promotion and suicide prevention event that is designed to “check in” on the mental health of our campus community members. The free event will offer interactive booths, giveaways and prizes. I encourage you to stop by as well as promote the event to students.

Upcoming Board of Trustees Meeting
The Board of Trustees will hold its quarterly meeting Oct. 20-21. We will be discussing a wide variety of topics from across the university during committee meetings as well as at the full board meeting.

Nov. 7-12 Homecoming and Reunion Week

I am excited to participate in next month’s Homecoming and Reunion events not only as your president but as a 20-year reunioning member of the Class of 2002! The Sernas look forward to attending the activities, and I hope you do as well. Please visit the Homecoming website to see the full schedule of events. If you plan to tailgate on Nov. 12 ahead of the men’s basketball game, please check out tailgating information online and purchase your spot if needed. Let’s get ready to have a great time!

State Budget Request
The Division of Finance and Business Affairs has prepared and submitted the 2023-2024 Agency Budget Plan to the State Department of Administration’s Executive Budget Office.  We are requesting the following:


Operational support for STEAM disciplines                         $1,500,000

Tuition mitigation funds                                                        $2,750,000

Esports                                                                                   $   500,000

  Total                                                                                     $4,750,000


Instructional scientific equipment                                         $1,722,272

Maintaining campus infrastructure                                      $35,500,000 

  Total                                                                                   $37,222,272

TOTAL                                                                                  $41,972,272

The campus infrastructure request includes boiler plant renovation, chiller plant renovation (part 1), Tillman renovation (phase 1), academic strategic programs, Rutledge mechanical and HVAC, fire alarm replacement (phase 2), deferred maintenance projects, interior renovations, and esports computers and furniture. Vice President for Finance and Business Justin Oates and I presented our request on Oct. 4 at the Governor’s budget hearing as a first step in the budget process.

Employee Bonus

Finally, I have the good fortune of sharing with you a few details about Proviso 118.19 of the 2022-2023 Appropriations Act, which provides a $1,500 bonus to be awarded to state employees based on the following criteria:

  1. Employees in regular FTE positions are eligible for the bonus.

  2. In addition to being in a regular FTE position, the employee must have continuous state service from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022.  They must also be employed at the time the bonus is paid.

  3. Employees in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) status, who are otherwise eligible, will not receive the bonus until they return to employment.

Eligible employees will receive the bonus in the Nov. 1, 2022, paycheck. Contact hrhelp@winthrop.edu if you have questions.

Thank you all for everything that you do for Winthrop. Please know that your work is appreciated!


Edward A. Serna