The inaugural speech: A look back at past Winthrop presidential addresses

03/28/2014 9:19 AM

03/28/2014 12:37 PM

Presidential inaugurations at universities serve to introduce the institution’s new leader to the campus and local community.

At Winthrop University, 10th President Jamie Comstock will be the seventh college president to take part in official inaugural activities, including the signature investiture ceremony. College presidents typically use the inaugural address as an opportunity to describe their vision and philosophical approach to leading the school.

Winthrop’s last inauguration was in October 1990, with former president –– now President Emeritus –– Anthony DiGiorgio. He delivered an inaugural address titled “An Era of Distinction.”

The university’s first president to participate in an inauguration was Shelton J. Phelps, Winthrop’s third president.

Phelps’ November 1934 address was titled “The Education of Women” and his the only presidential inaugural address at Winthrop to not include any specific reference to Winthrop or Rock Hill.

Other speeches have been called: “A Continuing Race,” by Phil Lader and “The State Women’s College: A New Perspective,” by Charles Davis. Some past presidents did not name their inaugural addresses.

Three of the university’s past presidents did not hold inauguration proceedings: David Bancroft Johnson, president from 1886 to 1928; James P. Kinard, president from 1928 to 1934; and Charles B. Vail, president from 1973 to 1982.

For more, read each of the six inaugural addresses by past Winthrop presidents:

•  Anthony J. DiGiorgio, served 1989 to 2013
•  Martha Kime Piper, served 1986 to 1988
•  Philip Lader, served 1983 to 1985
•  Charles S. Davis, served 1959 to 1973
•  Henry R. Sims, served 1944 to 1959
•  Shelton J. Phelps, served 1934 to 1943

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