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New Academic Year Begins With Solar Eclipse and Convocation

Quick Facts

 The Convocation ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Byrnes Auditorium.
 This year's speaker is Anthony Davis, a former NFL player and currently the assistant dean of students.

Anthony Davis

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Anthony Davis, an assistant dean of students in the Division of Student Life and a former player in the National Football League, will deliver the Aug. 21 Convocation keynote speech on what his experiences have taught him.

Convocation will officially usher in Winthrop’s 132nd year as a higher education institution. The ceremony serves as an official welcome to new freshmen and transfer students and their induction into the Winthrop community of learners.

Incoming students and the campus community will watch the solar eclipse from the Campus Green that afternoon and then head to the 3:30 p.m. ceremony in Byrnes Auditorium. University offices are closed during this time period.

During Winthrop’s Convocation ceremony, students will be welcomed to Rock Hill by Karl Folkens ‘78, chair of the Board of Trustees; Mayor Doug Echols of Rock Hill; Tadean Page, chair of the Council of Student Leaders; Michael Lipscomb, chair of Faculty Conference; and Maria D’Agostino, chair of Staff Conference.

Immediately following Convocation, President Dan Mahony and First Lady Laura Mahony will lead students out of Byrnes and toward the campus front lawn in the traditional Blue Line procession. The community picnic will follow on the lawn in front of Margaret Nance Hall. The rain location for the picnic is the West Center.

Davis is entering his fourth year at Winthrop, serving as the assistant dean of students/director of student conduct and advisor to the Council of Student Leaders. Originally from Plainfield, New Jersey, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a football scholarship. He graduated in 2005 with a B.S. in elementary education and an additional major in African-American studies.

Davis was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2005 NFL Draft and played one season in the NFL, followed by two years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football league. He is passionate about higher education and decided to pursue a career in college administration because of the amazing experience he had as a college student.

He returned to school and earned his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. During his career, Davis has worked in several areas of higher education including athletics, residence life, international student services, diversity and inclusion, and campus programming.

For more information about Convocation, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at

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