A public-school educator, military veteran and Winthrop University graduate with more than 20 years of university involvement will join its board of trustees.
Gov. Nikki Haley chose Tim Hopkins to fill one of two seats she appoints on Winthrop's board.
Hopkins holds a bachelor's degree in sociology, a master's of education in counseling and an education specialist degree in educational administration, all from Winthrop.
He's president-elect of the Winthrop University Alumni Association and a member of the Winthrop University Foundation Board. He is in talks with the university on whether to continue in those posts, he said.
A resident of Lugoff, Hopkins is the executive director of elementary education overseeing 11 elementary schools for the Kershaw County School District.
A retired major with 24 years' service in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Hopkins has worked in public education as a teacher, counselor, basketball coach, assistant principal, principal and district administrator.
He hopes his military service and career spent on "the front line of teaching and learning" will help Winthrop reach "higher objectives," he said.
University leaders spoke of the commitment Hopkins will bring to the board.
With his community involvement and experience in public education, "it's clear the governor has chosen someone with well-rounded credentials" for the trustee position, said Rebecca Masters, assistant to the president for public affairs.
Haley, a Republican, has been criticized for filling board positions with campaign supporters. Hopkins supported Vincent Sheheen, Haley's Democratic competitor in the 2010 gubernatorial race.
She chose Hopkins because he shares her vision for higher education, including a commitment to accepting more in-state students and lowering tuition for South Carolina families, Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said in an email to The Herald.
Hopkins agrees that most South Carolina schools are meant to serve in-state families, but a changing economy requires looking beyond the state's borders, he said.
For example, Winthrop's community extends into the Charlotte area, he said.
"You've got to have a balance. The economy we live in is not just in-state," he said.
Hopkins joins Glenn McCall and Don Long on the Winthrop board. The three trustees meet with university leaders today for orientation.