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President Emeritus


2012 Undergraduate Commencement

The DiGiorgio Era of academic achievement at Winthrop includes several major milestones in the evolution of Winthrop’s academic life, its devotion to student personal development and its encouragement and celebration of diversity within the campus community:

  • Winthrop moved from college to university status early in Dr. DiGiorgio’s presidency, a change that highlighted that the campus offered graduate professional degrees, as well as a wide variety of  liberal arts-based undergraduate degrees in Arts & Sciences, Education, Business, and Visual and Performing Arts.
  • In 1996 Winthrop achieved 100 percent national accreditation of every academic program for which such accreditation was offered. It was the first university in South Carolina to achieve that goal, which President  DiGiorgio described as a “globally recognized, third-party assurance of  quality” that “serves students well, whether their future is within South  Carolina or on the other side of the world.”
  • Winthrop for the 20th consecutive year appeared in the 2012 U.S. News and World Reports ‘“America’s Best Colleges” listings, ranking Number 7 on the list of the South’s Top Ten Public Master’s Degree-Granting Universities. Other third-parties giving Winthrop top rankings over the year’s include Barron’s “Best Buys in College Education,” Princeton Review’s “America’s Best Value Colleges,” “Best Southeastern Colleges,” and “Green Colleges,” and Wise Choice Research’s “Top Ten Value Schools” that provide “bang for the buck.”
  • ClassroomWinthrop’s African-American enrollment saw significant gains over the last two decades, increasing from 14.9 percent in 1988 to 33 percent in 2012. President DiGiorgio made that a goal early in his presidency, when he personally visited high schools across the state to deliver the message that minority students would find Winthrop to be a campus that values diversity and offers a supportive environment for all students. Winthrop in 2011 was identified by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as one of 40 American campuses where minority students excel at ‘Beating the Odds’ against degree completion that exist nationally.
  • Winthrop simultaneously has emphasized in-state enrollment as part of its service to South Carolina, vowing to include international and other ethnically diverse students on its campus to create real-world learning opportunities for all, while still keeping in-state enrollment of at least 75% of the student body.
  • As the new Millennium arrived, Winthrop moved its academic approach from one of information-sharing to capacity-building. Priority competencies identified for emphasis include:

    • Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. Winthrop University graduates reason logically, evaluate and use evidence, and solve problems. They seek out and assess relevant information from multiple viewpoints to form well-reasoned conclusions. Winthrop graduates consider the full context and consequences of their decisions and continually reexamine their own critical thinking process, including the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments.

    • Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. Winthrop University graduates value integrity, perceive moral dimensions, and achieve excellence. They take seriously the perspectives of others, practice ethical reasoning, and reflect on experiences. Winthrop graduates have a sense of responsibility to the broader community and contribute to the greater good.

    • Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. Winthrop University graduates comprehend the historical, social, and global contexts of their disciplines and their lives. They also recognize how their chosen area of study is inextricably linked to other fields. Winthrop graduates collaborate with members of diverse academic, professional, and cultural communities as informed and engaged citizens.

    • Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. Winthrop University graduates communicate in a manner appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience. They create texts – including but not limited to written, oral, and visual presentations – that convey content effectively. Mindful of their voice and the impact of their communication, Winthrop graduates successfully express and exchange ideas.
  • As a further part of leadership in encouraging Winthrop to evolve to meet the changing needs and expectations of the 21st century, Winthrop introduced its distinctive “Touchstone” Core courses. These courses provide Winthrop students a set of foundational experiences in common, regardless of major, and provide students with a framework for learning and decision-making that they will use as they live, learn, and lead throughout their lives.
  • Winthrop has been highlighted as an institution that “encourages character development” among its students – first by the John Templeton Foundation and in 2007 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, which included Winthrop among just 18 institutions nationally that were designated to take the lead in instilling five ‘core commitments’ in students: dedication for excellence; cultivation of personal and academic integrity; making contributions to the larger community; taking seriously the perspectives of others, and developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning and action.

Community Service

  • Because President DiGiorgio believes “there is no finish line” in developing a quality institution of higher education, Winthrop in 2011 chose for its accreditation-related on-going quality enhancement plan to focus on a “Global Learning Initiative.” Through this program, which will be implemented through 2016, all Winthrop students by graduation will have explored global influences, examined culturally diverse relationships, and will have come to understand how those intercultural dynamics impact their senses of self, their lives, and their careers to prepare them for success in the contemporary world.
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