Students - September 12, 2023

Dear Students:

Now that we’re nearly a month into the semester, I wanted to update you on several areas of good news. I’m excited about all of this, and I hope you are too. The information below reiterates what I have said at several events over the last month: Winthrop is on the ascent, and our future is bright. Keep reading to find out more:

Fall Enrollment
While our fall enrollment numbers are still tentative, here is the good news that we know right now:

  • Overall, undergraduate enrollment is up over last year at this time. We are currently at 3,424 degree-seeking undergraduate students compared to 3,378 at this point in time last year.
  • We have seen a 90 percent spring-to-fall return rate. We are currently at 2,289 returning degree-seeking undergraduates who are enrolled for the fall semester out of the 2,533 possible that were eligible to return from the spring.
  • Winthrop welcomed a class of 867 new freshmen for the fall semester, a 22 percent increase over last year, and a class of 268 new transfer students, a 17 percent increase over last year. 
  • Our current fall-to-fall retention on our fall ‘22 freshmen cohort is 73 percent - the strongest fall-to-fall retention that Winthrop has experienced since the fall 2017 freshmen cohort. We will continue to monitor this promising data as it is not finalized at this point.
  • We are generating an additional $3.6 million in net tuition revenue over last year with the additional freshmen and transfer enrollment.

Clearly, this is great stuff. I want to thank Joseph Miller, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, and the admissions and financial aid teams for the incredible work that they have done this year. I also know that everyone on campus contributes to these efforts. Recruitment and retention is a team effort, and I’m proud of the entire Winthrop team for this incredible news.

Facilities Updates
Each week, James Grigg, associate vice president for facilities management, updates me on the various facilities projects that are underway. It’s a long list, but it shows some of the much-needed work that is happening. Our efforts to enhance infrastructure are paying off, and our campus is looking the best it has in years. Some of these projects happening right now include:

  • The last pieces of the Tillman fountain precast were set last Friday. The work on this project is coming along with an estimated completion date by year’s end.
  • The Oakland brick fence columns will start coming down this week to open up the campus views along Oakland.
  • The site fence for Wofford and Richardson demolition is slightly ahead of schedule and going up now.
  • Roof work is underway at the West Center and Dacus Library.
  • Byrnes Auditorium’s full construction fence is now up, and you can see scaffolding around entrances to a number of buildings needing architectural detailing (boxing) repairs.  
  • Tillman Auditorium ceiling work has started.  

These are just a few of the main projects underway. James and the facilities team deserve a lot of thanks and credit for all of the hard work they do each and every day.

Next Week  
On Monday, Sept. 18, U.S. News and World Report’s 2024 Best Colleges rankings will be released. I’ve had a chance to look at the embargoed information, and let me just say, I’m looking forward to e-mailing you with more about this next week.

Also on Monday we will hold a student strategic planning town hall. It will be at 7 p.m. in Dina’s Place. I hope you’ll join me, Gary Simrill ’91, chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, and the Berkeley Research Group team. We want to update you on all the great work accomplished to date, share findings from the data collection phase, present the direction of our strategic plan, and solicit your feedback.

To wrap up, it’s evident that there is so much great work happening. Let’s continue to build off of this momentum because as I’ve said before: A United Winthrop Is Unstoppable.


Edward A. Serna