Spartanburg, S.C. -
In paying homage to values instilled in them from an early age, Ann Cobb and Stewart Heath Johnson recently donated $1 million to the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at the University of South Carolina Upstate. The meaning of their gift is two-fold – it honors Stewart’s brother for whom the facility and College is named and it pays tribute to Ann’s father, James David Cobb, for whom the atrium in the facility will be dedicated.
“I am delighted for my brother and having this college named for him is indeed a great honor,” said Stewart Johnson, chief executive officer of Morgan Corporation. “This endeavor combines two of George’s greatest passions, which are education and business. Having the Johnson College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg is going to be good for this community and good for our economic health.”
It is also fitting that the atrium of the facility, currently under construction on East Saint John St., will bear the name of Jamie Cobb. Cobb is the former co-owner of Greenewald’s, a staple for men’s clothing in downtown Spartanburg for many years. Ann’s father was once at the heart of a thriving downtown Spartanburg and once the Johnson College opens in summer 2010, he will once again have a place in the center of the activity.
“If I was to select one person to emulate Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation, it would be my father,” said Ann Johnson. “He is the kindest, most gentle man you will ever meet. My father has kept his mind and body strong for 90 years by reading, studying, being involved with his family, and staying active in this community.”
The announcement of the naming of the atrium was made as the family gathered to celebrate Cobb’s 90th birthday. Cobb who expressed much surprise and delight said, “I have the finest daughter and son-in-law in the world. I feel very honored and this is the best birthday gift. I am so thankful to have lived this long and to be able to see what an asset the Johnson College of Business and Economics will be to Spartanburg.”
Both Ann and Stewart are delighted to have this opportunity to honor family members they cherish while at the same making a commitment to the educational arena.
“USC Upstate attracts a tremendous amount of students from this area and our economy is directly tied to how our youth can succeed in life,” said Stewart Johnson. “Having the business school located next to the Chapman Cultural Center will certainly bring more people to downtown and it will provide incredible incubator opportunities. Education is the key to all of our success.”
He continued, “The education that our young people get at USC Upstate will help our community in untold amounts. You only have to look as far as Bill Cobb, who is a graduate of USC Upstate and president of QS1, to see the positive impact he has made on the economic viability of Spartanburg.”
The couple, who are both grew up in Spartanburg and have been married for 37 years, point to lessons they learned from their parents about giving back to the community as the impetus for their gift.
“Our parents taught us by example the value of being involved in and supporting our community and we hope that our actions will lead others to do the same,” said the parents of four and grandparents to six.
“We are incredibly thankful for the generosity of Ann and Stewart Johnson and their support of this vitally important project is crucial,” said Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate. “The fact that their gift honors both a brother and a father, honoring deep family ties, makes it even more meaningful.”
Ann and Stewart Johnson’s $1 million gift comes on the heels of the groundbreaking event for the $30 million George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, which was held on November 6. At that event the University announced a $6 million gift from the George Dean Johnson, Jr. family for the facility. The 60,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in May 2010. This is the first building in Spartanburg that bears the name of Johnson, chairman of Johnson Development Associates, Inc.
The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate currently enrolls nearly 850 majors and is the fastest growing unit in the University. It is fully accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business, one of 42 institutions worldwide with undergraduate only programs that are accredited. Few business schools in the nation with a predominantly undergraduate mission are accredited by this prestigious international association. To learn more, visit www.uscupstate.edu/johnsoncollege