While he is the fourth generation public servant from his family to serve at Winthrop University, Dr. John Holder still feels a connection to the Winthrop campus and community.
Dr. John Holder, professor of political science, began his teaching career at Winthrop in 1995, but he has spent much of his life around the Winthrop campus. Holder’s mother was also a professor of political science at Winthrop, and while she taught, he attended Winthrop’s Macfeat Nursery School.
“I can remember nursery school got out right before one of my mothers classes ended, so some student would come pick me up, and four-year-old me would sit in the back row of Kinard Auditorium listening to my mother finish her lecture,” Holder said.
Holder lived in Rock Hill, S.C. until the age of 12, when his mother was offered a fellowship and then a job at Yale University. He would eventually attend Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he received his undergraduate degree, his graduate degree from George Washington University and later received his doctorate at The University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
While Holder originally didn’t think that he would work as a professor, he did realize from an early age that he was interested in politics.
“My mom would have these parties on election nights where she would invite people over and we’d watch the returns come in,” Holder said. “So I’ve always been interested in politics.”
It wasn’t until going into his first attempt at his doctorate at George Washington University that Holder realized he enjoyed and was good at teaching.
He would leave George Washington and work on various campaigns such as those of Rock Hill congressmen John Spratt, and that of Michael Dukakis during Dukakis’ run for president. Holder has also served on executive committee for the York County Democratic Party.
In 2003, Holder auditioned for the television game show Wheel of Fortune after finding out there would be auditions held in Charlotte N.C. While he was not originally selected, he was later called back to take a contestants test which still did not verify his spot on the show. In 2004, he received a call to be on the show and eventually won $59,350.
On the plane ride home, Dr. Holder made the decision to leave Winthrop and enroll at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for his second attempt at his doctoral degree.
One of his passions is visiting state capitol buildings, and thus far, he has visited 40 of the nation’s state capitols and would like to make Hawaii his 50th stop. Holder enjoys watching hockey and has a white west highland terrier, which keeps him busy participating in a lot of dog related events.
Dr. Holder really wants students to realize the importance of reading, and that technology is not always the blessing it seems to be.
“I hope that sitting down and reading actual print doesn’t become a lost art form because there are so many other ways to get information faster, but faster does not always mean better,” Dr. Holder said.