Winthrop Traditions

Traditions often take the form of rituals or events, but in their essence, traditions are stories and experiences that connect a large group of people across generations. We all become a part of a community through the stories and experiences that unite us, regardless of race, gender, or creed.

The Garnet & Gold Book

Garnet and Gold BookWinthrop has a long history of traditions, and this book, The Garnet & Gold, presents you with the opportunity to learn about Winthrop's history and help shape its future. A student committee composed of members of the Student Alumni Council and Winthrop Ambassadors created The Garnet & Gold as a comprehensive guide to the history and traditions of Winthrop for the entering freshman class, the campus community, and alumni. View the 2023 Edition (pdf - 8.1 MB)


Current Traditions

Alumni from the class of 1973 singing the alma mater at their homecoming reunion luncheon

    Members of the Student Alumni Council host the tree lighting and provide entertainment and refreshments for the campus community.

    Homecoming includes a variety of activities: alumni events, athletic games, tailgating, float competitions, themed parties, student talent shows and special performances.

    With the adoption of a new Winthrop ring design in 2003, the university began honoring our ring recipients with a ceremony and reception. The Alumni Association president and Student Alumni Council Traditions Chair presents rings to recipients who are encouraged to invite friends and family to help celebrate this milestone. Purchase your official Winthrop ring as a lifelong reminder of your Winthrop experience by shopping the website for our exclusive partner, Jostens, or call 800/854-7464. For more information on the Winthrop ring or Ring Ceremony, click here or e-mail the Alumni Association at

    The official Winthrop Ring can only be worn by eligible students. Undergraduate students who have completed 54 credit hours and graduate students who have completed 18 hours may purchase their ring and participate in the ceremony. Students who have earned the required credit hours on their official transcript and purchased the official Winthrop Ring are invited to attend the Ring Ceremony.

    Oral traditions also play an important role in the rich history and culture of Winthrop. In the fall of 2005, the Student Alumni Council began hosting Ghost Tours, an event that explores the campus legends and historical figures that have shaped Winthrop. All proceeds from this event support the Winthrop Fund. Experience Winthrop as never before and help support Winthrop at the same time!

    The Division of University Advancement established Giving Day in 2019. The university’s aim to provide a contemporary, collaborative and supportive environment for students is achieved through the Day of Giving, a 24-hour day of philanthropy for Winthrop alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends to invest in the future of Winthrop by making a gift of any size! 

Winthrop Traditions

Four students wearing their blue line shirts

    Established in 1895 by President Johnson, the Blue Line is among Winthrop's most cherished traditions.

    Family Day, a tradition begun by President Phelps in 1936, was renewed in 2007 to become a funfilled, engaging and educational time for students and their families.

    Convocation first began as an opening speech and welcome to the incoming freshman class by the university's first president, David Bancroft Johnson. This welcome later became known as Convocation in 1983 during President Phil Lader's tenure. Today, President Serna convenes the freshman class to offer them an official welcome to Winthrop, and traditionally a guest alumnus has shared how the Winthrop experience has shaped his or her life after graduation. 

    The first Commencement ceremony took place on June 17, 1887 in Columbia, S.C., the original home of Winthrop, and awarded degrees to 14 students. While the program has changed over time, all Winthrop graduates share the experience and tradition of our Commencement exercises. Today, ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students are held each semester at the Winthrop Coliseum. Support your fellow Eagles by attending graduation before your final semester. 

    In 1914, President Johnson pro- posed a competition among the  four classes to prepare a college song. Over the years, the alma mater was adapted to suit the changing character of Winthrop, but the tradition of an official college song continues. At opening convocation in 1986, the Winthrop Glee Club performed the current alma mater, which was adopted to usher in Winthrop’s second century.

    This special day is a huge celebration for all incoming Eagles, giving them a chance to experience all that Winthrop and the Rock Hill community have to offer. Current students serve as volunteers greeting, working checkin, running a station at the fair and leading visitors across campus.