Alumnus Edward A. Serna selected as Winthrop University’s 12th President

From the website of Winthrop University

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Edward A. Serna ’02 has been selected to serve as the 12th president of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Winthrop Board of Trustees voted unanimously on his appointment during a February 18 called meeting.

Serna is currently serving as the 15th president of the University of Maine at Farmington. He arrived at UMF in 2019 after serving as interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith. His work at UAFS, a public, four-year university with an enrollment of 6,600 students and an annual budget of $80 million, included leading initiatives focused on student success, student retention, and data-driven innovation. He received a doctorate of education in higher education from the University of Alabama, a Master of Science in management information systems from Auburn University, a Master of Science in industrial management from Clemson University, and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Winthrop.

Serna noted that he is excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead his alma mater. “My experience at Winthrop is what drove me to change careers to serve public higher education. The opportunity to return to a campus community that made such a profound difference in my life is truly a blessing,” he said. “Lauren, the girls, and I can’t wait to get to Rock Hill and meet the community this summer.”

After working as a senior business analyst and strategic management consultant in the private sector, Serna entered higher education as an assistant professor of management in Athens State University’s College of Business. Prior to serving as interim chancellor at UAFS, he was chief of staff and associate vice chancellor for external funding and chief of staff and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives.

Serna was chosen from a diverse applicant pool which included sitting presidents, provosts, and other educational leaders. The Board of Trustees acted as the Presidential Search Committee, led by Julie Fowler ’85, ’88. Board Chair Glenn McCall guided trustees in deliberations on three finalists, which resulted in the selection of Serna.

“We knew we wanted an academic leader with previous experience as a public university president and a proven record of leading change during challenging times,” McCall said. “Dr. Serna is well positioned to undertake the presidency at a critical time in Winthrop’s history. His commitment to strategic planning, data-informed choices and partnerships aligns with the Board’s expectations for Winthrop’s future as the top choice for well-qualified students seeking higher education opportunities that will enrich their lives and prepare them to meet the needs and challenges of the contemporary world.”

Serna spent time last week on the Rock Hill campus where he interviewed with the Board of Trustees, the Presidential Search Advisory Group, vice presidents, deans, students, faculty and staff leadership, community leaders and Winthrop Foundation leadership. His selection concluded an eight-month search that the board undertook with the assistance of Myers McRae, a Georgia-based higher education consulting firm.

Serna will assume the presidency and join the Winthrop community on July 1. He and his family, wife Lauren and daughters Anna Kate (12) and Caroline (7), will reside in the President’s House on the Winthrop campus.

Winthrop’s Interim President George Hynd noted that he and wife Alison will be thrilled to meet the Sernas. “We are looking very forward to welcoming our new President and First Lady to campus as we know they will fall in love with Winthrop just as we have,” he said. “I am very excited for the Winthrop community as I am sure that Dr. Serna will bring the energy and vision to take the university in new and exciting directions.”