2013 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award
By Carolyn Farr Smith
The 2013 Distinguished Alumni of the
Year Award is presented to a University of South Carolina Upstate alumnus who is
working to make his community a better place, starting with the campus where he
earned his degree.
Chris Crowley graduated from Upstate in
2011 and stepped up to lead the University’s $50 million Capital Campaign in
Crowley understands the business world.
He’s spent more than 23 years operating Cherokee Textiles. It was during that
time he decided he should complete his college degree. He said that while he
had attended three colleges, he never earned enough credits to finish his
degree. He returned to USC Upstate in May 2010, and it wasn’t long before he
realized what made the campus so special.
“I fell in love with the kids,” Crowley
said. “I realized how many of them were first-time college students, the first
generation from their family to attend college.”
With that in mind, Crowley readily
accepted the challenge of leading the University’s Capital Campaign because, as
he noted, it’s important to grow the University’s presence in the Upstate since
the largest majority of the student body comes from this area and many make
their homes here after graduation.
“USC Upstate graduates are the ones who
are going to staff any new companies,” Crowley said. “In lots of ways, the
economic future of this community is tied to USC Upstate more so than any other
institution of higher education.”
In his letter to the nominating
committee, Dr. Robert McCormick, chair of the Department of History, Political
Science, Philosophy and American Studies, wrote that one of Crowley’s greatest achievements
was his compassion for Upstate students.
“His sincere determination to uplift
Upstate citizens to heights they believe unobtainable is his greatest attribute
and contribution,” McCormick said. “Spartanburg is lucky to have Chris Crowley
in its community. Likewise, the University has no greater champion.”
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