Letter from the Chancellor

As this latest issue of Up Magazine went to print, Interim Chancellor Derham Cole was acclimating to a new position as Vice President of System Affairs for the USC System. Dr. Bennie Harris officially became Chancellor on July 1.

As we publish this latest issue of UP Magazine, I cannot help but reflect on the last year. We have come through the worst, I believe, having persisted through a pandemic the likes of which we hope never to experience again. So many of us have endured hardship and loss. But as difficult as this period in our lives has been, the pandemic has revealed our strengths as educators and students. We came together as a campus community in ways we never have before, and I am proud that our new chancellor will benefit by your collective resilience and ongoing dedication to the critical work we all do every day. What a joy it was to gather for Commencement ceremonies in May!

Dr. Bennie Harris, USC Upstate’s seventh chancellor, will be settling into his new office this summer as I transition to a new position as vice president of System Affairs with the USC System. We introduced Dr. Harris and his family during a press conference last month, and I look forward to working with him in promoting the increasingly significant role USC Upstate plays in the region and in the state.

Resilience has shown itself on campus in numerous ways, and perhaps nowhere more profoundly than on our athletic fields. The Spartans wrapped up the spring season with men’s soccer having enjoyed its best season in the Division I era and culminating with head coach Scott Halkett being named Big South Coach of the Year. Not to be outdone, women’s golf coach Todd Lawton was voted Big South Coach of the Year as well. Our softball, baseball and track teams set new records, too. You’ll notice an athletics thread in this issue — a strong one.

Meanwhile, a number of our students were working alongside faculty on research projects. Led by Dr. Melissa Pilgrim and the Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Support, these opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research are invaluable. Academically, the work is rigorous, and perhaps more importantly, time with faculty promotes critical thinking, communication, time management and other soft skills that make our graduates particularly attractive to employers.

Also in this issue, you’ll meet a number of our recent graduates and one of the university’s greatest advocates. Commissioner Anne Flynn has long been invested in the success of our students, following an example provided by her parents. My wife, Suzy, and I have known Anne for many years and we enjoyed reading this latest profile about her invaluable contributions to the Spartanburg community.

USC Upstate welcomes two new deans this summer. John Barnett takes the reins from Library Dean Frieda Davison, who retires this year having served USC Upstate admirably for more than 20 years. Dr. Tanya Boone steps in as dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. We thank Interim Dean Rob McCormick for his leadership over the last two years, and look forward to working with John and Tanya, both of whom were selected following competitive national searches.

It has been an honor to serve as interim chancellor at USC Upstate. The university remains on its upward trajectory, thanks to you, our talented faculty and staff, current  students and alumni, and community stakeholders. We recognize your hard work and dedication, particularly as we turn the page on the most acute effects of COVID-19 and begin a new chapter in the life of this wonderful institution. I am proud to be a Spartan, and I look forward to our continued work together.

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J. Derham Cole, Jr., J.D.
Interim Chancellor


Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D.

David Schecter, Ph.D.
Incoming Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Daniel Feig, J.D.
Director of Athletics and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics

Kimberly Jolley
Interim Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and Executive Director of University Foundations

Robert Katz, Ph.D.
Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Donette Stewart
Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services

Sheryl Turner-Watts
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Jessica Blais
Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications and Marketing

Adam Long
Chief Information Officer

Stacey Mills
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Regional Engagement and Executive Director of USC Upstate Greenville Campus

Kim Purdy, Ph.D.
Dean of University College and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Khrystal Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement and Retention Initiatives

Pam Steinke, Ph.D.
Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


Victor P. Austin, Jr. ’90
David L. Church, D.H.A. ’92 (Chair)
William R. Cobb ’74
Patrick Cutler
Renee Dean ’03
David L. Eubanks, Ed.D.
Anne Flynn
Ronald Garner, Ed.D. ’94
Scott Heath
Ben Hines
Johnny Lee
Cathy McCabe
Ryan McCarty
Harold McClain
Milton A. “Chip” Smith ’78 (Vice Chair)
Thomas R. “Tommy” Young III

Toney J. Lister, Esq.
USC System Board of Trustees

Charles Babb
Jane Bottsford, '69
Jim Smith '72