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05/01/2019

Lawmaker and Marketing Professor Will Deliver Commencement Speeches on May 4

Quick Facts

 Rep. Gary Simrill `91, R-Rock Hill, will receive an honorary degree at the 10 a.m. ceremony at the Winthrop Coliseum and give the Commencement address.
 Another honorary degree will go to the late Mary Spann Richardson LeNoir. A member of the Class of 1942, LeNoir was forced to terminate her education early.
 At the 3 p.m. ceremony, Marketing Professor Cara Peters will receive the Distinguished Professor Award and give the Commencement address.

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Gary Simrill
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Cara Peters
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University will welcome the Majority Leader of the S.C. House of Representatives and an award-winning faculty member as its Commencement speakers for the May 4 graduation ceremonies.

Rep. Gary Simrill `91, R-Rock Hill, will receive an honorary degree at the 10 a.m. ceremony at the Winthrop Coliseum before the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts graduates. He then will offer words of wisdom to the Class of 2019.

Another honorary degree will go to the late Mary Spann Richardson LeNoir. A member of the Class of 1942, LeNoir was forced to terminate her education due to the depression and lack of financial means.

LeNoir’s children have made sure her legacy remains intact at Winthrop. At the annual Faculty, Staff and Retirees Awards Ceremony each spring, the Mary Spann Richardson Award is given to a faculty or staff member who has provided exceptional service to Winthrop.

At the 3 p.m. ceremony, Marketing Professor Cara Peters will receive the Distinguished Professor Award and give the Commencement address for those graduating from the Richard W. Riley College of Education and the College of Business Administration.

There will be almost 400 students receiving their undergraduate degrees during the morning ceremony and almost 300 in the afternoon ceremony.

Simrill has served as the S.C. Representative for District 46 since 1993. Beginning in 2017, the Rock Hill businessman moved into a key leadership role with the S.C. House with his election as Majority Leader.

He also holds the title of second vice chair for the powerful Ways and Means Committee and is the chair of a Ways and Means Education Subcommittee.

Simrill, who is president of Carolina Motorsports, is passionate about supporting higher education in South Carolina in general and Winthrop specifically. The recurring and non-recurring funding Simrill has helped secure for Winthrop has had a profound and enduring impact on the institution.

Peters started work at Winthrop in 2004 as an assistant professor after having taught at the University of Georgia and the University of North Carolina Charlotte. She has served on the College of Business Administration’s leadership team as assistant and associate dean for professional development.

Peters teaches a wide variety of courses including the principles of marketing, advertising, e-commerce, marketing management, qualitative market research, personal selling and global marketing. An active and prolific scholar, Peters is a firm believer in helping the community through her research. She has won two other Winthrop faculty awards: the 2010 LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award and the 2009 Kinard Award for teaching.

Heavy Traffic Expected Saturday

Rock Hill residents who are not attending the Saturday Commencements may want to stay away from the Coliseum area due to the heavy traffic anticipated. Traffic lines are expected on and off from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Eden Terrace.

Signs will be posted near the Coliseum encouraging those not attending to take a different route. Those who live on Eden Terrace between Richmond Drive and Bradley Street will have access to their residences.

Graduate Commencement on May 2
 

Winthrop also will hold a Graduate Commencement on May 2 for nearly 220 students who will receive their master’s and specialists’ degrees. The 7 p.m. ceremony takes place at the Coliseum.

Live Stream of All Ceremonies
 

For those who cannot attend, the May 2 and 4 ceremonies will be available via live stream on YouTube. Please visit the university's homepage and click on the "Commencement Information" graphic to access the video and other important information regarding Commencement.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu or at 803/323-2404.

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