Spartanburg County Commission for Higher
Education Serves As Lead Advocate for
The 1967 South Carolina Legislature, by Act #36, created the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education (SCCHE) and charged it with specific duties including the encouragement of higher education in Spartanburg County and adjacent areas and the establishment of facilities to offer standard freshmen and sophomore college courses and other courses as necessary. The SCCHE was empowered to enter into contracts, make binding agreements, negotiate with educators and educational institutions and to take any necessary actions to fulfill their mission.
With this charge from the Legislature, the Commission contracted with the University of South Carolina, and USC Spartanburg came to life with a freshman class of 177 students, originally housed in the old nurse’s residence hall of Spartanburg General Hospital. The late G. B. Hodge, MD was the first chairman of the Commission and served tirelessly in that role for 28 years. Members of the Commission are nominated by the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation and appointed by the governor, for a term of four years.
During the University’s early years, Dr. Hodge and the Commission assertively defended it against several attempts to close the University or convert it to a community college. Without those fearless and intense commitments, there might very well be no USC Upstate today.
With support of Spartanburg County Council, the Commission arranged for the acquisition of the first 40 acres of for the Spartanburg campus in 1968. A portion of that original purchase came as a gift from the Gramling Family, with the balance being paid through a Spartanburg County bond issue. The administration building, featuring its iconic gold dome, is located on this parcel of land.
During the years since, the Commission has acted to assemble our present campus –
320 +/- acres, sought out and supported funding for campus facilities – now over a million square feet of classroom, academic and support buildings. In addition, the Commission enthusiastically participated in expansion to Greenville and development of the Johnson College in downtown Spartanburg.
Over the life of our University, the Commission has maintained a close relationship with members of Spartanburg County Council and the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation, for the purpose of keeping these key leaders informed and engendering support regarding the opportunities and challenges facing USC Upstate. The Commission works closely with the USC Upstate Chancellor and his senior officers, simultaneously maintaining a degree of independence in pursuit of its mission. It has communicated directly and effectively with the University system on several occasions to resolve systemic issues facing USC Upstate.
SCCHE Board Membership 2010-2011Commission members include business, civic and education leaders, all with close ties to USC Upstate.
- C. Dan Adams ‘83, CEO of the Capital Corporation, Greenville County Representative
- Gene Adams, Attorney, Ward Law Firm
- Jane Bottsford, RN, ‘69
- Dr. Sheila S. Breitweiser, Chairman of the Spartanburg Regional Hospital System Foundation and retired President of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind
- Susan Clary, ’67, REALTOR affiliated with Coldwell Banker Cane
- Charles Babb, retired textile executive
- Bill Cobb, ’74, President of QS/1 Data Systems
- John S. Poole, civic leader and CEO of Carolina Alliance Bank
- Kathy Dunleavy, CEO of the United Way of the Piedmont
- Harold D. McClain, retired V.P. Spartanburg Community College
- Albert V. Smith, ’77, Attorney
- John B. Travers, retired textile executive and Cherokee County Representative
- Emerson Fort Wolfe, Jr., CEO of The Merit Group
- Mike Wood, '77, President of American Storage
- Tommy Young, President of Young Office Supply
- Milton A. (Chip) Smith, ’78, CEO of Blue Ridge Log Homes
- Jim Smith, ’72, real estate brokerage, development and auction marketing
Ex Officio members include:
- The Honorable Toney Lister, Attorney and member of the USC Board of Trustees
- Dr. Jim Ray, Superintendant of Spartanburg County School District 3
The late G. B. Hodge, MD was the first chairman of the Commission and served tirelessly in that role for 28 years, then served actively as Chairman Emeritus until he passed away in February 2009. Other charter members of the Commission included business and civic leaders - Mr. Cleveland Harley, Attorney Louis Howell, Mr. Bill Burroughs, General Grady Brooks, Dr. J. P. Coan and Mr. John L. Cobb. Mr. Harley continues to serve as an Emeritus Member of the Commission. Following Dr. Hodge’s 28 year tenure as chairman, retired senior textile executive Ralph Gillespie served as Chairman of the Commission for several years. The current Chairman, businessman Jim Smith, ’72, a freshman at USCS in 1968, was appointed to the Commission in 1991 and has served as Chairman since 2001.
Roles and Responsibilities of Commission Members
- To act in a key participatory and advisory role in selection of the University’s Chancellor
- To serve in an advisory role to the Chancellor on all matters of institutional importance
- Evaluation and support of the USC Upstate mission, vision and goals
- Management of the Commission’s Endowment Fund
- Recognition of service contributions to the University
- The acquisition of land, active support of capital facilities development and participation in the campus master plan design and approval process
- Commission members are also called upon to bring greetings and congratulations at spring commencement exercises and December convocations for graduates.
SCCHE AwardsThe Commission has established criteria for recognition of outstanding service to the University. These awards include:
- The G.B. Hodge, MD Lifetime Achievement Award – presented for the first time in 2010, posthumously, to honor Dr. G.B. Hodge. The highest award bestowed by the Commission, this recognition is for a “lifetime” service to USC Upstate including extraordinary actions, gifts and/or history altering influence.
- The Founders' Day Award – presented annually since 1968 – to recognize persons in the larger community who have been of exceptional assistance to the University.
- CHE Distinguished Service Award – to recognize a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated a long and distinguished career of service to the University, characterized by exceptional dedication to the work at hand and to the Institution. The Distinguished Service Award includes an honorarium.
- CHE citations – awarded by the Commission to honor individuals for extraordinary service to the University or in their profession/community.
The Commission established an Endowment Fund in 2005 for the purpose of providing honorariums in connection with its Distinguished Service Awards. Commission members have provided generous annual gifts to the Endowment Fund and revenue from properties owned and managed by the Commission are committed to the CHE Endowment.
SCCHE SupportThrough their generous gifts, members of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education have supported student scholarships, faculty, facilities, and academic programs and centers. The Commission’s Endowment Fund, established in 2005, contributed to the development of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg and provides awards to Founders Day honorees. Every Commission member gives generously of time, talent, and resources.