Winthrop University: Graduate School - Graduate Commencement Bulletin
Contact Information
Graduate School
211 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
800/411-7041 (tollfree)
803/323-2292 (fax)

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Commencement Details

The commencement ceremony for spring degree candidates has been postponed due to COVID-19. More information will be posted when available. You can view answers to frequently asked questions on our commencement home page.

Commencement Participation Policy

Degree candidates must have successfully completed all curriculum requirements in order to participate in the ceremony. There will be no exceptions. 

Graduation Checklist 

For information on... Contact...
Academic status/eligibility Records Coordinator--323-2204
Caps, gowns and announcements The Bookstore--323-3800
Diplomas Commencement coordinator--323-2204
Accessibility Office of Accessibility--323-3290


Commencement Ceremony Information


Degree candidates should park in the north parking lot of the coliseum. Public Safety officers will direct you to the nearest available space. Please enter the coliseum ONLY through the north tunnel.

In the south side parking lot, there will be a designated area coned off for special guests. All remaining parking is available for family and guests.

Street Map

NOTE: Parking off Winthrop property could lead to your vehicle being towed.

Check In and Line Up 

  1. Degree candidates should report to the check-in area, located just inside the north entrance of the coliseum, in academic cap and gown, at 5:30 p.m.  NOTE: Only participating graduates are allowed in this area. Guests are not permitted in the line-up area.
  2. Each degree candidate will be given a card with his or her name, and position in line. Do not lose or alter this card. If you believe the information printed is incorrect, please bring this to the attention of the staff at the check-in area.
  3. After receiving a card, candidates should proceed to the east hallway where personnel will be present to assist candidates in locating their assigned position in line.
  4. Do not bring anything with you that cannot be put in your pockets as there is no secure area in the coliseum.
  5. All cell phones and pagers should be turned off.
  6. Reader Pronunciation Table: The name readers will be available in the check in area if you have concerns regarding the pronunciation of your name. You will be able to indicate the phonetic pronunciation of your name to assist the reader.


  1. The procession will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Please be prompt. We cannot place students in line after the procession begins.
  2. Hood should be carried on the graduate's left arm.
  3. The Procession will form in the following order and proceed to the coliseum floor:
    • Platform party
    • Faculty
    • Degree Candidates
  4. Faculty will be led by marshals and directed to their seats.
  5. At the signal from the Chief Faculty Marshal, the procession will enter the arena down the center aisle. The degree candidates will split to the left and right aisles, respectively, upon reaching the stage and be directed to their seats by a marshal. Seats will be filled as rapidly as possible under the direction of the marshals. Please do not leave empty seats. Members of the procession and all guests will remain standing until after the National Anthem has been sung.

Seating Chart 


1.  College of Business Administration  3.  College of Visual and Performing Arts
2.  College of Education  4.  College of Arts and Sciences

NOTE: This seating is approximate. Exact seating will depend upon the number of graduates in attendance from each college.

Conferring of Degrees 

  1. Candidates for master's and specialist degrees will be presented to the president by the vice president for academic affairs. 
  2. Marshals will then direct the degree recipients from their seats to the stage. 
  3. Graduates will hand their name cards to the announcer.
  4. When each candidate's name is announced:
  • Give hood to the graduate director of respective college (hood should be carried on left arm)
  • Turn toward the audience
  • Be hooded by the dean and the graduate director of the college (a photographer will take your picture at
    this time)
  • Shake hands with the chair of the board of trustees 
  • Receive diploma cover from dean of the Graduate School 
  • Shake hands with the president (a photographer will take your picture at this time) 
  • Exit stage and return to seat 

Final Procession

Upon conclusion of the singing of the Alma Mater, the platform party will leave first, followed by the faculty. The graduates will exit under the direction of the Student Marshals. Please meet family and friends in the upper concourse after the ceremony. The ceremony should last approximately an hour and a half.


Diplomas can be picked up from a representative of the Office of Records and Registration immediately after the ceremony.


Family and guests of the degree candidates should be seated by 6:45 p.m. The commencement procession begins promptly at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Reserving seats is not allowed. The coliseum will open at  6 p.m. to accommodate all who want to find seats early. Balloons and balloon bouquets are not allowed in the Coliseum as they may obstruct the view of other guests. Consider leaving these items in your car or having a member of your party wait outside until the ceremony concludes.

For information on the Rock Hill area, including a list of local accommodations, check out the Winthrop Visitors' Center.

Special Assistance 

A sign language interpreter will be provided at the ceremony.

Seating will be designated for guests, including the elderly, who may need special assistance. In an effort to ensure accessible seating for those who need it, we ask that only one family member accompany the person in the designated seating area. This will be enforced. These individuals should plan to arrive at the coliseum at 6 p.m., use the entrance for the disabled and proceed to the section for the disabled as directed by faculty marshals. If you have a disabled parking permit, please park your vehicle in the designated area.


Lifetouch professional photographers will take pictures during the Commencement Ceremony. Two photographs will be taken, one with the president and the other a more posed shot in front of the Winthrop logo. Lifetouch will contact graduates after graduation regarding the sale of the photos.

Go to the for information about commencement photographs. Any questions can be addressed to, 800-505-9496 Monday — Friday 8:00am — 6:00pm EST, or via the Lifetouch web site.

Guests may take their own photos and videos of the ceremony but shall not block the aisles or the view of other guests. The Commencement stage will be left intact for a short time following the ceremony for those guests who wish to take photographs.

Winthrop Class Ring

The official ring of Winthrop University is reserved exclusively for alumni and graduate students who have completed at least 18 credit hours, and undergraduate students of junior or senior standing who have completed at least 54 credit hours.  For more information, call 800-854-7464.

Inclement Weather Policy

In the instance of extreme weather, unsafe road conditions, or natural disasters, the University will notify local media outlets regarding the feasibility of proceeding with the graduation ceremony as scheduled.

Academic Attire

Academic Regalia

All commencement participants must wear only appropriate academic regalia, which is distributed to students through the campus bookstore. Men remove academic caps during the singing of the national anthem and the alma mater. Tassels should be worn on the left front side for master's degree candidates. You may order your cap, gown and hood online. The cap, gown, tassel, and hood are sold as a package for approximately $100 plus tax and shipping. Orders for regalia should be submitted at least 30 days prior to commencement.


The color of the hoods worn by graduate degree candidates is determined by discipline. The table below lists the master's degrees Winthrop University offers and the hood colors that correspond to each.

College of Business Administration

Master of Science (M.S.) - Drab
Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) - Drab

Richard W. Riley College of Education

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) - Light Blue
Master of Education (M.ED.) - Light Blue
Master of Science (M.S.) - Light Blue

College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts (M.A.) - White

Master of Liberal Arts (M.L.A) - White

Master of Mathematics (M.MTH.) - Gold

Master of Science (M.S.) - Gold

Specialist in School Psychology (S.S.P.) - Gold

Master of Social Work (M.S.W) - Citron

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Master of Arts (M.A.) - White

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) - Brown

Master of Music (M.M.) - Pink

Master of Music Education (M.M.E.) - Pink


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to be issued tickets for my guests to attend the ceremony?
A. No. There is no limit to the number of guests you may invite.

Q. May I wear regalia from a club or organization to the ceremony or decorate my cap?
A. No. All commencement participants must wear only appropriate academic regalia, distributed to students through the campus bookstore.

Q. Will I receive my diploma when I cross the stage?
A. No. You will receive a diploma cover when you cross the stage. Your diploma can be picked up immediately after the ceremony.

Q. How will I know where to sit during the ceremony?
A. When you arrive, you will be given a card with your name and your position in line. You will be led to your seat in the coliseum by the student marshals; just follow the person in front of you.

Q. Where do I put my keys, cell phone, pager, purse, etc.?
A. Do not bring anything with you that cannot be put in your pockets as there is no secure area in the lineup area. All cell phones and pagers should be turned off.

Q. May I participate in the commencement if I have not completed all program and degree requirements?
A . No, only degree candidates that have completed all curriculum requirements may participate at the ceremony. There will be no exceptions.

Last Updated: 4/20/20