Winthrop University History - Chronology

Chronology

Early Achievements

1823 - The Little Chapel, Winthrop's first home, was built by Robert Mills, South Carolina architect and designer of the Washington Monument, as the carriage house of Ainsley Hall in Columbia. It later became the chapel of the Columbia Theological Seminary.

1873 - Woodrow Wilson made his confession of faith in the Little Chapel.

1883David Bancroft Johnson was appointed superintendent of Columbia, S.C., schools.

1886 - Johnson received a $1,500 appropriation from the Peabody Education Board headed by Robert Charles Winthrop to open a school to train young women to teach in the public schools.

1886 - Classes were first offered at Winthrop Training School in Columbia under the guidance of Winthrop's first instructor, Mary Hall Leonard. Twenty-one students met in the one-room Little Chapel for classes.

1887 - Fourteen students graduated at Winthrop's first commencement. South Carolina granted Winthrop a charter and provided $150 per month scholarship to one student from each county in the state; Winthrop relocated to a house on Marion Street where it remained until its move to Rock Hill in 1895.

1889 - The Winthrop Alumni Association was established.

1891 - The S.C. General Assembly established the South Carolina Industrial and Winthrop Normal College and considered offers from towns competing to be the college's permanent site; Winthrop started a two-year curriculum.

1892 - The first Winthrop College catalog was published.

1893 - The institution's name was changed to the Winthrop Normal and Industrial College of South Carolina.

1894 - The cornerstone of Main Building (now Tillman Hall) was laid. The Practice House (now Stewart House) was built; and Robert C. Winthrop, the college's first benefactor, died.

Growth in Rock Hill

1895 - Winthrop began classes in Rock Hill. A uniform dress code went into effect. A four- year curriculum was instituted. The Blue Line tradition began, and North Dormitory (now Margaret Nance) was built.

1900 - Enrollment topped 500, and Winthrop Kindergarten (now Macfeat Early Childhood Laboratory School) opened.

1901 - South Dormitory (now McLaurin Hall) was completed.

1902 - President Johnson married Mai Rutledge Smith.

1905 - Carnegie Library (now Rutledge Building) was completed.

1911 - The Student Government Association was formed.

1912 - First B.S. and M.A. degrees were conferred, and the Winthrop Training School building (now Withers/W.T.S. Building) was constructed.

1919 - Enrollment topped 1,000.

1920 - The institution became Winthrop College, the South Carolina College for Women.

1922 - Winthrop student Lucile Godbold won two gold and four other medals in the International Women's Olympiad. She later was the first woman inducted into the S.C. Athletics Hall of Fame.

1923 — Winthrop joins the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

1925 - Winthrop became the second largest women's college in the United States.

1928 - David Bancroft Johnson died after 42 years of leadership to Winthrop.

A New Era

1929James P. Kinard was named second president.

1934Shelton Phelps was named third president.

1936 - The Little Chapel was moved from Columbia to Rock Hill and reconstructed at its present site.

1940 - The School of Music's accreditation was Winthrop's first professional accreditation.

1942 - The U.S. Army Air Force (known as the Army Air Corps, 41st College Training Detachment) and Civilian Pilot Training Program was based at Winthrop in "Fort Bancroft."

1944Henry R. Sims was named fourth president.

1953 - Enrollment topped 2,000.

1954 - Winthrop trustees went on record favoring coeducation.

1955 - Uniforms were discontinued. D. B. Johnson Memorial Organ was dedicated in Byrnes Auditorium.

1957 - Construction of Winthrop Lake was completed.

1959Charles S. Davis was named fifth president.

1961 - Harold B. Gilbreth received the first Distinguished Professor Award.

Change for the Future

1962 - The Research Advisory Council (later Winthrop Research Council) was established, and the first Master of Arts in Teaching degree was conferred.

1964 - Cynthia Plair Roddey, Winthrop's first African-American student, enrolled as a graduate student, and the first Master of Science degree was conferred.

1965 - Enrollment topped 3,000.

1969 - Graduate student Walter Schrader became the first male to receive a Winthrop degree.

1970 - Enrollment topped 4,000.

1972 - The S.C. General Assembly passed limited admission of males.

1973Charles B. Vail was named sixth president, and the Winthrop Foundation was established.

1974 - Winthrop became fully coeducational.

1977 - Tillman and McBryde Halls were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Winthrop's first men's basketball season and first Model United Nations program were held.

1980 - The first men's baseball game was played, and the Winthrop coat-of-arms was adopted.

1981 - Withers/W.T.S. Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Keith Bildstein was named the first Outstanding Junior Professor.

1982Winthrop Coliseum was completed.

1983Phillip Lader was named seventh president. The Blue Line tradition and Convocation were reinstituted. Cultural events were reinstated as a requirement to graduate.

1984 — Enrollment topped 5,000. Winthrop was admitted to the NCAA. Roger Baumgarte received the first James P. Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching.

1986Martha Kime Piper became Winthrop's eighth president and the only woman to ever head the institution. Winthrop celebrated its centennial.

1987 - Winthrop officially joined NCAA, Division I ranks. Seventeen campus buildings and one structure were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Modern Era

1989Anthony DiGiorgio became Winthrop's ninth president, establishing core institutional values of service, excellence, diversity, community and leadership. Hurricane Hugo hit the campus.

1990 —  History professor Jason Silverman was named the S.C. Governor's Professor of the Year, a first for a Winthrop faculty member.

1991 - U.S.News & World Report magazine ranked Winthrop among the South's top universities in its 1992 America's Best Colleges edition, beginning a tradition of recognition by the magazine that continues today.

1992 - Winthrop attained university status.

1993 — The first $1 million endowment to the Winthrop Foundation was announced, a gift from the Pamplin family of Portland, Ore.  The first two endowed professorships were established — the William H. Grier Endowed Professorship of Business Administration and the R. Grant and Elizabeth G. Singleton Endowed Professorship in Teacher Education. Winthrop's tennis teams were involved in a wreck in Hattiesburg, Miss., that killed men's player Bruno Torok.

1998 — A local couple's $1 million contribution created Winthrop's first endowed chair: the Harry and Becca Dalton Endowed Chair in Environmental Sciences and Studies. The athletics program was fully certified by the NCAA.

1999 - The Winthrop Eagles made the NCAA Division I basketball tournament for the first time in the program's history. The Life Sciences Building (now Dalton Hall) was completed, the first new academic building in more than 30 years.

2000 — Enrollment topped 6,000. The College of Education was renamed the Richard W. Riley College of Education for the former Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton.

2003 —Winthrop's first capital campaign, "A Lasting Achievement: The Campaign for Winthrop," came to a close with more than $31 million raised. 

2005 - Winthrop garnered a $3.8 million grant from the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence program to pursue molecular biomedical research. An anonymous $1.5 million gift was donated to enhance the Winthrop Ballpark.

2007 - Construction was completed on Winthrop's first certified "green" building, the Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center, as well as on the Glenda Pittman and Charles Jerry Owens Hall. Family Weekend was reinstituted.

2009 — Millions of dollars in federal funds were awarded to Winthrop for such projects as the Richard W. Riley College of Education's NetSCOPE initiative, the McNair Scholars program, and even a steam line for the campus. Carroll Hall opened with the state-of-the-art Carroll Capital Markets Training and Trading Center as the building's centerpiece. 

2010 — Fire destroyed Owens Hall. The DiGiorgio Campus Center was completed in the heart of campus along Scholars Walk. The university embarked on its 125th academic year.

2011 - The university launched the public phase of its second capital campaign, "Distinction: The Campaign for Winthrop."  Hardin Family Garden opened at the south end of Scholars Walk.

2013 - Winthrop's 10th president, Jamie Comstock Williamson, served for one year following the retirement of Anthony DiGiorgio after 24 years of service. Women's lacrosse launched its inaugural season. 

2015 - Winthrop's 11th president, Daniel F. Mahony, was named on July 1, the Distinction campaign reached a successful conclusion that fall, and a strategic planning process began that yielded the Winthrop Plan, the university's blueprint for progress through 2025. 

2017- Winthrop received the largest estate gift in the university's history— $3 millionto establish a service-focused student scholarship program, thanks to the late Elizabeth Hope Reed '41, '51.

2017- The women's tennis team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time.  

Last updated: 05/2019

Last Updated: 7/3/19