Letter from the Chancellor

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Our beautiful campus remains quieter than we’d like, but I fully anticipate that as we turn the page on 2020, we can look forward to brighter days ahead. We can be tremendously proud of what we have accomplished this year, despite the very real distraction of keeping our campus community safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Out of challenge so often comes growth.

Both faculty and students continue to grow in their knowledge and use of the technologies that can help ensure that teaching and learning online are engaging, productive experiences. Dr. Emily Kofoed leads the way in creating innovative ways to keep her communications and public speaking students interested in the course material. We feature Dr. Kofoed in an article that showcases the university’s response to the pandemic, along with examples of students who continued to participate in community service projects, despite the challenges of gathering. My own young children donned masks to join students and Dr. Deb Kladivko in service learning programs on campus, including one in which they created sock puppets to accompany books to be distributed to underserved families. I’m pretty sure my kids won’t remember the masks; they will remember our students and “Llama Llama in Lucky Pajamas,” and my wife and I will cherish the opportunity to have watched them grow through the experience.

USC Upstate grew this semester in its understanding of how issues of racial injustice impact our campus. I was proud to participate in our “Be the Bridge” peaceful protest, and proud of the student-athletes who saw a need and gathered the support to organize the event. The interest and passion demonstrated by our students led to other new initiatives that cast a spotlight on our core values. Our dialogue around equity and inclusion expanded, and I’m grateful to the faculty, staff and students who are more committed than ever to ensuring that these values are embedded in our campus culture.

We learned this year that even a pandemic can’t stop Donette Stewart, who so capably leads our Admissions and Enrollment Services division. In this issue, we learn more about what motivates Vice Chancellor Stewart and why USC Upstate continues to attract some of the state’s most gifted students.

Our feature about legacy families serves to illustrate the lasting impacts of a positive student experience. We introduce you to four different families, all of whom share their personal stories and insights about why USC Upstate was not only the right choice for one individual, but was right for siblings, spouses, even a special grandmother and her grandson.

For alum Carlos Andres Camargo, going back to college had been a dream. In our Alumni Spotlight, you’ll find out how USC Upstate helped fulfill the dream and why the owner of Greenville’s Unlocked Coffee attributes some of his success to his economics professors.

New programs always help in attracting talented students. We’re pleased to offer six new majors in our George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, including accounting, marketing and entrepreneurship and innovation. These programs are significant in that they provide new opportunities for growing the experiential learning for which we have become known, and preparing our students for employment upon graduation.

Kim Jolley, who joined the university in the spring, provides an update on the growth her Advancement team has experienced despite the pandemic. A generous gift from Spartanburg’s Poole family will benefit the campus community for years to come, and this year’s Giving Tuesday event was our most successful ever.

Finally, we pay tribute to our December graduates who, like those who graduated in May, celebrated their accomplishments with a virtual ceremony and a Graduate Car Parade. The parade, too, grew and because it was enjoyed by so many, I expect that we’ll carry on this new tradition long after COVID-19 has been conquered for good.


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


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

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

Alphonso Atkins, Jr., J.D.
Chief Diversity Officer and EO/Title IX Coordinator

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