Winthrop hires new advancement leader

adouglas@heraldonline.comSeptember 26, 2013 

Danny Nicholson

Winthrop University has hired a South Carolina native and 30-year veteran of fundraising to head its institutional advancement effort, which includes soliciting donations, supporting alumni relations and overseeing the school’s communications.

William D. “Danny” Nicholson II starts work in Rock Hill on Nov. 1. His salary will be $150,000, university officials said.

Nicholson’s position is not new but has been re-titled since Winthrop’s Kim Keel, former vice president for development and current executive director of the university’s related foundation, was tapped to serve as vice president for community engagement and impact. She will remain as the foundation’s director.

Winthrop President Jayne Marie Comstock announced earlier this month that the foundation’s board voted to separate fundraising and alumni relations activities from the foundation’s administration.

The foundation created a leadership position called executive director and vice president for community engagement and impact.

The move is important to “ensure the highest fiduciary compliance with IRS regulations,” Comstock said, and to separate donation acceptance and management from fundraising activities.

Nicholson will oversee alumni relations, development and university relations at Winthrop.

He has experience working on capital fundraising campaigns at several schools, including Coastal Carolina University and Glenville State College.

He comes to Winthrop from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tenn., where he has worked since 2009 as vice president for advancement.

With 30 years of fundraising experience spread out at six schools, Nicholson is bound to make “significant contributions” at Winthrop, Comstock said.

He is a “proven fundraising leader with contacts throughout our state,” she said, and he will now work closer to his childhood home in Hartsville.

At Carson-Newman, Nicholson oversaw a $25 million “Students First” campaign and recruited high-profile leaders including Billy Graham, Ricky Skaggs and Darrell Waltrip to serve as branding agents for the school.

Nicholson graduated from Charleston Southern University with a communications degree. He also earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of South Carolina.

He worked at Coker College for a decade as director of development, then joined the Medical University of South Carolina in 2000 as director of corporate and foundation relations.

At Coastal Carolina, he served as vice president for advancement for two years.

“I have long admired Winthrop's dedication to providing a distinctive educational experience for its students,” Nicholson said.

Comstock and Nicholson first met in 2007 at the Harvard University Institutes for Higher Education’s management development program.

Nicholson has been an active member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education since 1986. He on the group’s board of directors and was a district conference co-chairman in 2004.

He was awarded the John Grenzebach Award for outstanding doctoral dissertation in educational philanthropy by CASE and has extensive experience in working with service clubs, most recently with the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Rotary Club.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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