Winthrop University: Family Programs - EFC December 2016
Contact Information
New Student and Family Programs
248 DiGiorgio Campus Center
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
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December 2016

Hello Parents and Family Members!

The semester is coming to a close, but we've got plenty of important information in this edition to keep you connected as students finish up the semester. Check out the December Commencement Ceremony article for details on this semester's commencement exercises. The Academic Success Center's article about final grades and academic support offers a great deal of information about support services that are available to students as they prepare for final exams. The Department of Residence Life has provided an article outlining all of the holiday break closing information for our residence halls. If your student is looking for a way to get involved on campus, check out the fraternity and sorority recruitment article for more information about the Greek organizations on campus. With colder weather quickly approaching, Dining Services provides some tips for staying healthy during final exams. Finally, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, one of Winthrop's treasured traditions, is just around the corner! Take a look at the Student Alumni Council's article for more information about this year's ceremony. As always, the Office of New Student and Family Programs is here to keep you connected and informed. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

The Office of New Student and Family Programs
248 DiGiorgio Campus Center

December 2016 Commencement Ceremony

Winthrop University's December 2016 Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the Winthrop Coliseum. All August 2016 and December 2016 graduates are invited to participate! The procession will begin promptly at 10:50 a.m.

Degree candidates should report to the check-in area, located just inside the north entrance of the Coliseum, in academic cap and gown by no later than 9:30 a.m. Please note that all students must be in proper graduation attire: black robes, black caps with garnet and gold tassel. (Ladies do not have to wear the white collar that may come with the gown.) Caps may not be decorated. Winthrop-issued honor cords as well as sorority/fraternity stoles may be worn over the gown during the ceremony. You may purchase your cap, gown and tassel at the Winthrop Bookstore

Family and guests of the degree candidates are invited to enter the Coliseum through the upper concourse level and be seated by 10:40 a.m. Parking for the ceremony is available on university property only. Those who park off of university property may be towed. Guests are asked not to bring balloons into the coliseum. Balloons obstruct views and make it difficult to see the graduates.

The Commencement Ceremony will be video streamed on the web. There will be a link on the Winthrop University homepage on the day of Commencement with the link to the stream and instructions for optimal viewing. For more information regarding the December 2016 Commencement Ceremony please visit our website

If you have any questions please contact:
Office of Records & Registration
126 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-4600 (fax)

Final Grades and Academic Support

Final exams are on the horizon, which tends to mean one thing for students — a great deal of stress and anxiety. Waves of nervousness leave many students apprehensive and justifiably concerned about their academic well-being. Luckily, students are not thrown into the depths of academia at Winthrop without support! Students have a number of academic resources at their fingertips, including our office-the Academic Success Center. We highly encourage students to use all of the academic support services to their advantage in the remaining weeks of the fall semester.

Prior to final exams, which begin on Wednesday, December 7 and end on Tuesday, December 13, students can utilize their professor's office hours or any the following services for drop-in or one-time appointment tutoring:

  • Book A Librarian: For help in locating resources for research papers, formatting papers, and citation generation
  • College of Business Resource Room: For help in Accounting, Computer Science, Economics, Finance, and Quantitative Methods 
  • Chemistry Tutoring Lab: For help in Chemistry and Physics
  • Math Tutorial Center: For help in Math courses through 291
  • Writing Center: For help on writing assignments/papers
  • Academic Success Center (ASC) Writing Tutor: For help on writing assignments/papers
    • In Dinkins 106 on Fridays 1 - 4 p.m. and Sundays 4 - 6 p.m.

Students should also mark Tuesday, December 6 (Study Day) from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. in their calendars as drop-in tutoring will be offered for over 50 general education courses. Course specific drop-in times will be made available on the ASC webpage.

Other ways for the student in your life to better prepare for finals include:

  • Just say no to cramming. Studying in intervals of 30-50 minutes with 5-15 minute breaks in between is far more effective in building long-term memory.
  • Be the person with a plan. Creating a study plan and schedule can reduce stress which in turn lowers test performance.
  • Get up and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Research shows that just 20 minutes of cardio can improve memory. Needing to multi-task? Students can use the FitDesks in Dacus Library to feel the brain burn!
  • Move it or lose it. Psychologists have found that alternating the location where you study can improve retention. Even moving locations within the same room can help. 
  • To sleep, perchance to dream. Pulling all-nighters is a risky endeavor. In fact, a 2008 study by Pamela Thacher found all-nighters can impair reasoning and memory for up to four days! So, don't skimp on shut eye.

Please be aware that your student would benefit from your support during this time. Should you or your student like more information about any of the resources mentioned, please visit the links above, e-mail, or contact our office at 803-323-3929. We are pleased to contribute to your student's journey toward success!

Residence Halls Closed for Holiday Break

Residence halls will close for holiday break promptly at 9 a.m. Wednesday, December 14 for all students not graduating in December or involved with graduation. Halls will close for graduating seniors and those involved with the ceremony Saturday, December 17 promptly at 6 p.m. Students will not be able to get into their residence hall room after the 9 a.m. Wednesday closing. If a student must stay for graduation, special permission may be granted by the Residential Learning Coordinator of your student's residence hall.

After students depart, residence hall staff will check every room for general health and safety. These inspections are plain view searches. Staff will check for prohibited items, such as fire hazards (extension cords, candles, etc.) and will also check the general cleanliness of the room. Residence hall contracts state that health and safety inspections can occasionally occur. Students are expected to keep up general cleanliness in their rooms and suite bathrooms. Suites that have an open bed space in them must make every attempt to fully clean their bathroom in preparation for a new student.

Additionally, of the room must be clear for a new student at move in; this means one bed, one dresser, one closet, one desk and one chair should be in a usable configuration. Failure to do so may result in judicial action and/or fees applied to the student account. All students will receive a break notice with more information.

The halls will re-open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, January 8. During a period when the residence halls are closed, staff and campus resources are very limited or unavailable. Student safety is of utmost importance to us, so it is very important that students adhere to our opening/closing policies and not arrive to campus earlier than the posted residence hall re-open date and time.

For your convenience, our residence hall opening/closing dates are posted on our website. Students can also call their Residential Learning Coordinator (RLC) or Residence Life at 803/323-2223 with further questions.

Fraternity and Sorority Recruitment 

Here at Winthrop, we take pride in the numerous opportunities available to get involved that will enhance your student's college experience. There are more than 170 student organizations to choose from and joining a fraternity or sorority is one that truly stands out. As a fraternity and sorority community of over 650 members and 18 national Greek-letter organizations to choose from your student will certainly find a home away from home while building relationships that last a lifetime. 

There are a wealth of opportunities and benefits when a student decides to get involved in a fraternity or sorority. These 18 organizations are committed to cultivating personal and professional growth while serving the campus and community. Greeks at Winthrop are very involved with community service, philanthropies, and various aspects of student life. Fraternity and Sorority Life offers an opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills while learning a greater appreciation for a true fraternal experience. Participation in Fraternity and Sorority Life offers students a well-rounded academic experience as well as an opportunity to enhance communication skills and build character while promoting high academic standards. We hope that your student will explore the possibilities of joining a fraternity or sorority. The opportunities, friendships, and support network once can gain when joining a fraternity/sorority here can help them grow and succeed throughout their college career and beyond.

Fraternities and sororities select their members through processes that are designed to introduce potential members to the organization and its current members. Some host formal recruitment, some "rush" and others conduct intake. Recruitment/intake is the mutual selection process by which the prospective member (the student) and the fraternities or sororities determine the best fit for membership. It is a mutual process where the students have the opportunity to decide which chapter would be a good fit for them and where each chapter determines who they would like to invite to be a member. While all chapters strive to create better men and women, each chapter is different and unique. We encourage students to be open-minded and interact with members of multiple chapters in order to determine if Fraternity & Sorority Life is for them and which chapter is the best fit. Some other suggestions are to attend different chapters' programs and events, review chapters' websites, and attend any of the events and informational sessions put on by the governing councils.

While some specific organizations may have higher standards, the minimum standard requirement to participate in recruitment/intake is:

  • Enrollment as an active Winthrop University Student 
  • Completion of 12 university credit hours 
  • 2.5 cumulative GPA (Please note: These are minimum requirements as many chapters have a higher GPA requirement)

Register with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs on our webpage. Becoming a member varies among the three councils and may have additional requirements. We encourage you and your student to visit our website to learn more about each council's member selection process.

A Message from Dining Services 

It's getting colder here in the South! Wintertime is generally regarded as the time of year when you are destined to feel under the weather. We want to make sure your student continues to stay healthy during these winter months. Fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and protein give us the necessary fuel to feel well and energetic. It is vital your student also understands the importance of washing his or her hands. We have anti-bacterial stations at all dining locations on campus — please stress to your student the importance of using these stations before and after eating! 

It is also important that your student stays healthy for finals! Don't forget the brain food. Make sure your student eats properly during finals week! A $100 Caf Cash reload should get him or her through! Caf Cash can be used at any dining services location on campus (including the Eagle Express convenience store). You can add Caf Cash immediately to his or her account by going to the dining website. Remember, Caf Cash DOES roll over to spring semester, so if your student has some left over it will be waiting on his or her account for spring. All Caf Cash expires on June 30.

We have lots of new and exciting things happening on campus, and we strive to stay connected with you to make sure you don't miss out on any of it! Please make sure you check out our Dining Services website, Twitter and Instagram to see all the exciting things we are doing in the dining locations. You can find us on social media by searching for Winthrop Dining Services (@winthropdining). Our theme meals have been a hit and we are excited to offer more — you never know; you might just see your student in our pictures! Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Winthrop's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (December 2 at 6 p.m.)

The Christmas tree tradition started back in the late 1800s. Students, faculty and staff members would gather to decorate a traditional Christmas tree inside the main lobby of Tillman (formally Main Building). In 1935 they began to decorate the large southern magnolia tree located on Tillman lawn. The southern magnolia was selected as the Heritage Tree in 2010. This is an award which honors trees that evoke great community spirit!

Slowly the tradition evolved into a ceremony that began in 1971. The Christmas tree lighting became an official Winthrop event. For many years, the ceremony was part of a large campus celebration, that was known as the Festival of Carols. 

Today, we are thrilled that our tree lighting ceremony is celebrated as a part of Rock Hill's annual ChristmasVille festival. ChristmasVille is a weekend celebration of the holiday season. The Christmas parade starts after the Christmas tree lighting, right in front of Tillman Hall. The parade starts on Oakland Avenue and runs through downtown Rock Hill. This year President Mahony and his family will light the Christmas Tree and make an appearance in the Christmas Parade. 

The southern magnolia tree is special to Winthrop students, alumni and faculty in many ways. Those of us who have been around awhile remember it as a perfectly shaped old tree that withstood the winds of hurricane Hugo in 1989. Although the tree has been a little lopsided since then, our Christmas tree still stands as a symbol of hope and tradition on our beautiful campus.

In 2014 the southern magnolia tree retired the Christmas lights that have been used for more than 50 years. LED lights are now used in the Christmas tree lighting. These lights make the tree shine brighter than in years past. 

The Student Alumni Council (SAC) hosts the annual Christmas tree lighting. Our students offer warm smiles and holiday cheer during this exciting event. 

Important Dates

Friday, December 2

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m.

Monday, December 5

Last Day of Classes

Tuesday, December 6

Study Day

Wednesday, December 7 - Tuesday, December 13

Final Exams

Saturday, December 17 

December Commencement Ceremonies

Wednesday, December 14 - Sunday, January 8: 

Holiday Break (offices are closed December 24 - January 2)


Last Updated: 7/13/22