Change is focus of DiGiorgio's annual address

Starting this academic year, students at Winthrop University will have the opportunity to earn a distinction in leadership, university President Anthony DiGiorgio highlighted during his annual address Wednesday.

The distinction will be added on to a student's regular degree.

The distinction in leadership takes a minimum of two years to earn. It involves both classroom instruction and hands-on leadership experience.

Students are eligible for the program regardless of their major.

The program was one of many things DiGiorgio noted as an example of how Winthrop is changing with the times.

"We know intrinsically that education is a creative process that evolves -- within a course from class meeting to class meeting, as well as from year to year -- because it involves real people, living real and varied lives, teaching and learning from one another because they aspire to better themselves, their loved ones, their community and, yes, their nation," he said.

Here's a look at some of the other topics in the speech:

-- The Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center will open its doors this fall. Classrooms will be used right away, and wellness facilities will follow shortly after.

-- Demolition of Peabody Gymnasium will begin in a few weeks. In its place, the school will build a new campus center with meeting space, banquet rooms, a movie theater, the campus bookstore and post office and some dining options.

-- Owens Hall will open next week. Owens is a "smart" classroom building with wireless access and interactive computer boards.

-- An auditorium will be added to the College of Business Administration. The auditorium also will house space to prepare students for capital market trading. Construction on this project is expected to start late this fall.

-- Many faculty offices have been shuffled around campus to better accommodate students and staff.