USC Upstate News

USC Upstate Celebrates Annual Founders’ Day

02- 17- 2009

Spartanburg, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Upstate will hold its annual Founders' Day Celebration on Thursday, February 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Life Center Ballroom. The annual Founders’ Day Celebration provides the University an opportunity to honor friends and supporters who have been instrumental in the development of the institution.

“Each year at Founders' Day, the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education identifies individuals whom it chooses to recognize with its prestigious Founders’ Day Distinguished Service Award,” said Jim Smith, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education and a graduate of USC Upstate.  “These awards honor individuals who have made special and important contributions to USC Upstate and to the community the University serves. This year we have the distinct honor to recognize three people who have significantly supported the growth of the University, particularly their unique supporting roles they played to ensure the University’s funding and projects were not forgotten.”

Receiving the 2009 Founders’ Day Distinguished Service Award are the Honorable Herbert C. Adams, the Honorable Elizabeth B. “Lib” Fleming, and Robert M. “Bobby” Hitt, III.

Herbert AdamsAdams earned a degree in business management from the University of South Carolina in 1964. He built a long and impressive career in the insurance industry – serving as president and manager of The United Agency Inc. in Laurens from 1965 to 1999.  Since that time he has been a consultant for Correll Insurance. Adams currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.  He has been the 8th Judicial Circuit representative of the Board since 1984.  During his tenure, he has served on various committees and was Vice Chairman from 2000 until 2004, and Chairman from 2004 until 2008.

A member of the First Baptist Church in Laurens, Adams been president of the Laurens Rotary Club, president of the Laurens YMCA, president of the Laurens Chamber of Commerce, and chairman of the United Way of Laurens. He is currently on the Laurens Community Board of Palmetto Bank. Adams is married to the former Gwendolyn Thomason, and they have three daughters, Dale Shadden, Tara Dean, and Kate Orcutt, and 10 grandchildren.

Lib FlemingA native of Spartanburg, Elizabeth B. “Lib” Fleming received a bachelor of arts from Converse College in 1965. She married Dr. Harold Fleming and together they raised four successful children – Edd, Nick, Melissa and Betsy. More than 30 years ago, Fleming immersed herself in the community, actively working to make Spartanburg a better place to live, work and play. To the good fortune of this community and its citizens, she has never tired or waivered in her efforts.

Just to name a few of the organization to which Fleming has given her times and talents -- Urban League of the Upstate, Carolina Piedmont Foundation at USC Upstate, SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Foundation, Converse College, Board of Visitors, and United Way of the Piedmont. Fleming has also focused a major portion of her attention to public service. She served on the Spartanburg City Council Member from 1994 to 2004. In 2004 she was elected to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, becoming its Chairman in 2008. Today she is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Bobby HittRobert M. “Bobby” Hitt, III earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. He attended graduate school in Business Administration and completed a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University from 1987-1988.  USC recognized him as Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2006. Hitt had an extensive journalistic career beginning with The State  in 1971, transferring to The News & Courier  in Charleston, S.C until 1974 and then to The Columbia Record and ultimately The State newspaper as Managing Editor until 1991. From 1992-1993, Hitt served as a Director of Planning & Development for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia. In 1993, he joined BMW Manufacturing Co., where he now serves as the Department Manager of Public Affairs.

Hitt serves with numerous community and industry organizations, including the S.C. Centers of Excellence Review Board, S.C. Manufacturers’ Alliance Board of Directors, MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center Advisory Board and New Carolina, SC Council on Competitiveness. He is also the President and Tournament Chairman of S.C. Charities, Inc. (BMW Charity Pro-Am).  He is married to Gwen and they have two sons, Lucas and Robert.

The Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education will also present two Awards for Distinguished Service in honor of long and distinguished careers of service to the University that is characterized by exceptional dedication, exceptional work ethic and persistent commitment to quality. Receiving these awards are Dr. Jimmy A. Ferrell and the late Michelle Hendrix Morrell.

Ferrell received both his associate and bachelor degrees in nursing from USC Upstate. Since becoming a member of the faculty in 1981, Ferrell has been an integral part of USC Upstate demonstrating a strong commitment to quality nursing education and then overall quality of the educational endeavors on the Greenville campus. Ferrell’s previous posts include assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Greenville campus, acting dean of the Mary Black School of Nursing, and division chair of the nursing baccalaureate program.

Morrell worked as an admission officer at USC Upstate from January 1988 until her death in November 2007. For nearly 20 years, she was a respected leader among her peers and a key residency officer for Upstate. Morrell loved working on a college campus and truly enjoyed her interactions with students, faculty and staff. She is survived by her husband Bob and their two daughters, Eden and Rebecca, and her father and step mother, Clifford and Jean Hendrix.

“Dr. Jimmy Ferrell and the late Michelle Morrell are two exceptional employees who chose to dedicate their careers to USC Upstate and for that the University has indeed been the beneficiary,” said Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate.

The Carolina Piedmont Foundation, the fundraising entity of the University, recently established a donor recognition level titled the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Gold Dome Award. 

“This is one of the highest and greatest honors that USC Upstate can present, for those whose leadership and vision is carrying us forward in the 21st Century,” said Mike Irvin, vice chancellor for university advancement. “The University presents this to those whose gifts will have a lasting impact on USC Upstate, it is named for the most recognizable point on our campus, the gold dome atop the administration building.  The Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Gold Dome Award is a meaningful way to honor our most generous donors for their sincere loyalty and commitment to USC Upstate and its future.”

Receiving this award at Founders’ Day will be the Duke Energy Foundation for its recent gift of $1.25 million to the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate.

“Duke Energy is committed to the success of the communities we serve. We see the new Johnson College of Business as a powerful enhancement to the economic and social infrastructure of Spartanburg, and the Upstate region as a whole. We also recognize the value that higher education institutions play in the growth of the new economy, and applaud USC Upstate for its leadership,” said Brett Carter, president of Duke Energy Carolinas, which covers North Carolina and South Carolina, serving approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area.

For more information, contact Mike Irvin, vice chancellor for university advancement, at (864) 503-5217 or