Winthrop trustees unanimously chose Provost Debra Boyd, the university’s chief academic officer, to serve as acting president immediately after firing President Jamie Comstock Williamson on Thursday.
“At a university, it’s never about a single person,” Boyd said. “It’s always about a group of people who work together to make sure that the university goes forward.
Boyd has worked at Winthrop for 30 years, beginning as a professor in the university’s English department and most recently serving as provost under president Williamson. As provost, she is paid $159,350 annually. Trustees said they did not discuss whether to pay her more while she is acting president.
Taking over the helm at Winthrop is “a daunting task,” Boyd said, but “I have a lot of good people to work with me, and I look forward to working with them.” Together, she said, they will make sure Winthrop “doesn’t skip a beat.”
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Boyd has held leadership roles within Winthrop’s English Department, starting her teaching career as a professor of writing and literature. She led Winthrop’s Office for Effective Teaching, now called the Teaching and Learning Center.
She went on to serve as chairwoman of the English Department for four years and was promoted to dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2003. Later, Boyd was named vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.
Shortly after taking over as president, Williamson appointed Boyd provost – second-in-command of the university.
Boyd holds three degrees in English – a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University. She also earned a degree in mathematics from Appalachian State.