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The Winthrop Presidents

David Bancroft Johnson
(President 1886-1928)
(b.1856 d.1928)
D.B. Johnson

David Bancroft Johnson Chronology
David Bancroft Johnson Photograph Collection

D. B. Johnson giving a c.1920s address to Winthrop students. As the records in the Winthrop Archives show, Johnson was a tireless worker on behalf of the college. Many of Winthrop’s buildings still in use today were built during his tenure as president. Johnson died on December 26, 1928. The following year, the Winthrop Board of Trustees presented a report to the South Carolina General Assembly that showed Winthrop had 2,601 graduates certified to teach in South Carolina. The college with the next highest in the state had 396.
James Pinckney Kinard
(President 1929-1934)

J.P. Kinard

James Pinckney Kinard Photograph Collection
James Pinckney Kinard, Winthrop’s Dean of the College, succeeded Johnson and served Winthrop ably as president until 1934. Kinard had graduated from the Citadel in 1886 as a member of the first class to graduate from the school since the end of the Civil War and went on to receive his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Kinard came to Winthrop College as a professor of English in 1895.
Shelton Phelps
(President 1934-1943)
Dr. Phelps

Shelton Phelps Photography Collection

Dr. Shelton Phelps, Kinard’s successor, served as Winthrop's president during the hard years of the Great Depression. Born in Nevada, Missouri, Phelps received a Ph.D. from George Peabody College for Teachers and was formerly dean of the graduate school at George Peabody College.


Henry Radcliffe Sims
(President 1944-1959)
President Sims

Henry Radcliffe Sims Photograph Collection
Winthrop President Sims (left) poses with his twin brother, Hugo, in the Winthrop president’s home. Sims served as president until 1959. During his term, Sims had several accomplishments, including strengthening the college’s academic program by reintroducing entrance examinations for freshmen and introducing college board examinations as an admission requirement. He also used his considerable political skills to increase the college’s financial base nearly tenfold.
Charles Shepard Davis
(President 1959-1973)
Dr. Davis
Dr. Davis talks with students in this 1964 photograph. A number of administrative and curricular changes took place during Dr. Davis’s 13-year tenure. Most importantly, he played a major role in securing the South Carolina General Assembly’s passage of the 1972 partial coeducation bill. Because of his careful attention, Winthrop grew in many ways. Integration was successfully achieved, the college started four new masters degree programs, enrollment rose from 1,351 to 4,068, and the faculty increased from 130 to 212. President Davis was instrumental in strengthening the library collection. To accommodate the increasing student body, he convinced the legislature to build two new dormitories: Richardson and Wofford. Also completed during the Davis years were the Dacus Library and Dinkins Student Center.
Charles Brooks Vail
(President 1973-1982)
(b.1923-    )
Charles Vail
President Charles B. Vail and General William Westmoreland are seen in this July 1973 photograph. A native of Bessemer, Alabama, Dr. Vail earned his Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Emory University. In 1968, he was appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University and remained in that post until coming to Winthrop in July 1973.
Phillip Lader
(President 1983-1985)
(b.1946-     )
Phil Lader
Phil Lader, Winthrop’s seventh president, is seen here with his wife, Linda, in May 1983. A Harvard- and Oxford - trained lawyer and a former Sea Pines Company executive, Lader served as Winthrop President from August 1983 to December 1985. During his brief term, Lader moved to honor Winthrop’s tradition while expanding horizons.
Martha Kime Piper
(President 1986-1988)

Dr. Martha Kime Piper
On June 2, 1986, Dr. Piper became Winthrop’s first woman president. Prior to her appointment, she had been serving as chancellor of the University of Houston’s Victoria campus. During her tenure, Winthrop became the nation's first college to sign a NCAACP Fair Share Agreement encouraging the promotion of minorities and the use of minority businesses.  Dr. Piper introduced the Executive Masters of Business Administration Program, implemented the state's first Master of Liberal Arts degree, and had 20 buildings constructed between 1894 to 1943 listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dr. Piper had many Winthrop family ties. Her grandmother worked at Winthrop, and her mother and sister were educated here.
Anthony Joseph DiGiorgio
(President 1989-2013)
Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio
Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio, Winthrop’s ninth president, is seen here at a Winthrop Board meeting in October 1992. Before coming to Winthrop, Dr. DiGiorgio was vice president of Academic Affairs at Trenton State College in Trenton, New Jersey. Dr. DiGiorgio earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Gannon College (now University) in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1963 and a Master’s degree and doctorate in counseling psychology from Purdue University
Jayne Marie Comstock
(President 2013 - 2014)
Dr. Comstock
Dr. Jayne Marie (Jamie) Comstock became the 10th President of Winthrop University on July 1, 2013. A native of south-central Illinois, Comstock earned her Ph.D. in communication from the University of Arizona and holds bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from Illinois State University, where she was named among that institution's "outstanding alumni." She is a member of several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society. She also was inducted into Phi Beta Delta in recognition for her achievement in expanding international education for each of the institutions she served.

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