Winthrop President

Winthrop president to skip large installation ceremony, says school has other spending priorities

FILE - Dan Mahony speaks with faculty and staff members at a reception in August following his first presidential opening address at Winthrop.
FILE - Dan Mahony speaks with faculty and staff members at a reception in August following his first presidential opening address at Winthrop. aburriss@heraldonline.com

Winthrop University’s new president says the school doesn’t need to spend money or staff attention on a ceremonial investiture for him.

On Monday, Dan Mahony announced he won’t have a traditional “stand-alone” inauguration or presidential investiture ceremony, as is custom for many schools across the country.

“Frankly, I would rather spend the money elsewhere and prefer to have people spend their time focused on other, more critical activities,” Mahony said. “We have a number of needs across the institution, and as I look at our list of priorities, an inauguration celebration ranks very low.”

In 2014, Winthrop held a weeklong inauguration celebration for President Jamie Comstock, who was fired by the university Board of Trustees about three months later. The Herald later reported the school and the Winthrop Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the campus, together spent tens of thousands of dollars on the week’s events. The culminating activity was an investiture ceremony for Williamson, which included hundreds of invited guests in Byrnes Auditorium.

Inaugurations are typically large celebrations universities hold to honor a new president, Mahony said. But others also have gone against the tide at public schools, opting for smaller ceremonies or combining investitures with student graduation events. Clemson University President Jim Clements chose to combine his 2014 investiture with commencement.

Winthrop will honor Mahony as part of its May 7 commencement ceremonies.

“I have given this a lot of thought, talked with a number of people and decided against doing a stand-alone inauguration event,” Mahony said.

Trustees chose Mahony to succeed Williamson earlier this year after Winthrop Provost Debra Boyd spent a year in office as acting president. Mahony took office as the school’s 11th president on July 1. He and his family live on campus in the President’s House.

School officials say Mahony’s investiture will be part of a larger ceremony in May recognizing student achievement. Graduation is held at Winthrop Coliseum.

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