Winthrop graduations begin today

It's winter graduation time at Winthrop University, and more than 400 students will be getting their degrees this week.

Commencement will be held tonight for graduate students, and undergraduates will walk across the stage Saturday.

December commencement also marks the time when Winthrop gives out the James Pinckney Kinard and Lee Wicker Kinard Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This year's winner is Michael Lipscomb, an associate professor of political science, who teaches critical and political theory.

Students said Lipscomb helps them understand why the course work is valuable to their lives.

One of his contributions to Winthrop was helping to organize a new study abroad course on women and sustainable development in Costa Rica.

Lipscomb holds two bachelor's degrees, one in English literature and one in political science, from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has a master's degree in political science from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in political science from Pennsylvania State University. He has been at Winthrop since 2001.

If you plan to attend the graduation ceremonies, here are some things you might want to know:

Time: 7 tonight

Location: Byrnes Auditorium

Number of graduates: Nearly 90

Time: 11 a.m. Saturday

Location: Winthrop Coliseum

Number of graduates: Nearly 350

Parking: Graduates should park in the north parking lots. Families and other guests should park in the south side parking lot. A designated area will be coned off for special guests, but all other parking in that area is permitted.

What to expect: A reception for graduates and their guests will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in the upper concourse of the coliseum. A florist and a frame shop will have tables set up.

Guests should plan to be in their seats by 10:40 a.m.

Faculty members and degree candidates will begin the procession into the coliseum at 10:50 a.m.

During the ceremony, each degree candidate will have the chance to walk across the stage and shake hands with the chairman of the board of trustees and the university president. There will not be a speaker.

Commencement should be over at about 12:30 p.m. Graduates' family and friends should meet in the upper concourse after the ceremony.

Information: For more information visit winthrop.edu/recandreg/commencement/.

-- Jessica Schonberg