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Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

Chris Crowley '11 Receives USC Upstate Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award   

The 2013 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award was presented to Chris Crowley '11 at the Convocation honoring December Graduates. 

This University of South Carolina Upstate alumnus is working to make his community a better place, starting with the campus where he earned his degree.

Chris Crowley graduated from USC Upstate in 2011 and stepped up to lead the University’s $50 million Capital Campaign in 2012.

“If you want to change the economic future of the Upstate, what better place to start than USC Upstate,” Crowley said. “If you don’t have quality people to fill jobs, then businesses won’t come.”

Crowley understands the business world. He’s spent more than 23 years operating Cherokee Textiles with 10 of those years as its CEO. It was during that time he decided he should complete his college degree.

Crowley said that he had attended three colleges but 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.

Crowley said with the largest majority of the student body coming from the Upstate area and many making their homes here after graduation, he said it is important to grow the University’s presence.

“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.”

It’s an investment that Crowley has made both professionally and personally.

In his letter to the nominating committee, Dr. Robert McCormick, associate professor of history and 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. McCormick said that on numerous occasions, Crowley had purchased books for students struggling financially, helped with transportation, and helped students find employment.

“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.”

In addition to his work with USC Upstate, Crowley led the capital campaign for the construction of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Spartanburg Day School. He is married to Garrow Crowley and has three children, Kathleen, Mark and Elsa Crowley.



The University of South Carolina Upstate Alumni Association is extremely appreciative of all the nominations that were submitted for our Distinguished Alumni Award. To submit a nomination for our 2014 award, please click here.

Past Recipients

2012
Dr. Sherwood Thompson '80

2011
Sonya Kay Ehrhardt '08

2010
Lee Ann Johnston '80

2009
Michael E. Meilinger ‘93
Penny D. Meilinger ‘92

2008
C. Dan Adams '83

2007
Milton A. “Chip” Smith, Jr. ‘78
Mary Lou Hodge, RN ‘82

2006
Dolores Anderson ‘81

2005
Stephanie Seay ‘91

2004
Lisa Leary ‘87
Jane Bottsford ‘69

2003
Ainsley M. Williams ‘93
Barney G. Gosnell ‘79

2002
William Robert Cobb ‘74

2001
Priscilla Joyce Lipscomb ‘89
Jonathan Taylor McClure ‘83
LTC (Ret) Barry G. Murray ‘82
Dr. Edward Homan Overstreet ‘91

2000
Debroah Ruth Shehan ‘96
Albert V. Smith ‘77
James Robert Smith ‘72
Mike Wood ‘77

1999
Johnny Mack Brown ‘76

1998
Reverend Robert Lee Brown ‘84
Wilson W. Casey ‘77
Henry Alexander Danis ‘83
Dr. Daniel Livingston Dreisbach ‘81
Rebecca Marion Grant ‘83
Harold Andrew May ‘95
Paul Lee Thomas ‘83
Darrell Edward Whitaker ‘92

1997
Kimberly Jean Ashby ’85 & ‘91
Tonie Gail Edwards ‘89
Toni Lea Nunsz ‘91
Jane V. Turner ‘78

1996
David Alan Bellew ‘80
Rev. Mary Jo Cartledgehayes ‘83
Steve Harvey ‘80
Duveen Karen Woolbright ’80 & ‘88

1995
Robert Meadow Carpenter ‘85
Kathleen Gibson Elam ‘83
Gloria Hope Graves ‘91
Vanessa Thompson ‘94

1994
Bonita B. Landers ‘84
Tyrone Sterling Toland ‘90

1993
Harry Howell Clyborne ‘80
Dr. Linda Claire Miller ‘81
Robert Lee Speer ‘83

1992
Lee Hunter Bender ‘82
Elaine Emory Bond ‘90
Paul Alan Gray ‘84
Carl Franklin Hyatt ‘81
Joni S. Phillips ‘90
Lou Lyn Turner ‘84

1991
Dr. Jimmy Arthur Ferrell ‘81
Jeffery Wayne Ray ‘88
John Carter Wallace ‘89

1990
Cynthia Ann Gardner ‘86
William Craig Newsome ‘88
Cynthia Denise Smith ‘81

1989
Janet Sue Kirby ‘83
Susan H. Krause ‘85

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