• The band plays on

    Members of the band play alongside the USC Upstate Gospel Choir.

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  • Making beautiful music

    The USC Upstate Gospel choir performs in reunion concert.

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  • Dr. Carson leads the choir

    Dr. Warren Carson directs the USC Upstate gospel choir on Sunday for a fine performance.

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Chancellor Kelly officially takes the helm of USC upstate

Slate-gray skies produced just a fine mist early in the investiture ceremony for Dr. Brendan B. Kelly, USC Upstate’s fourth chancellor.

The Friday ceremony began as spectators filed into waiting chairs on the campus Quadrangle, facing the Rose Terrace of the John C. Stockwell Administration Building.

Promptly at 10:30 a.m., the opening strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by members of the Boiling Springs High School Marching Band, began to fill the air. A long line of educators - wearing traditional academic robes and caps - made the walk to the quad from the nearby G.B. Hodge Center. Led by Tia Green ’18, carrying the University Mace, the platform party took their seats.

After opening remarks, Kelly was presented to the audience by his wife, Tressa Kelly, Ph.D. The chancellor was charged with the duties of his office by USC President Harris Pastides, who presented Kelly with his Chancellor’s Medallion.

Kelly talked about the University’s history and its ongoing 50th anniversary celebration.

“Since I came to this university, it is rare that I get asked the question, ‘what do you think of the first 50 years,’” he said. “The question I’m always asked is, ‘what is the vision for the future,’ and it is an exceptional question. And all of my time, effort and energy is being invested in that next 50 years.”

The investiture celebration started Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, and ends Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. 

Read more about Chancellor Kelly, who took office on March 1, 2017.

Photos from the investiture ceremony

Photos from the USC Upstate gospel choir reunion rehearsal

Photos from the USC Upstate gospel choir reunion concert

Sparty's Birthday Bash draws a crowd

Food, fireworks, fun and friends set the mood for Sparty’s Birthday Bash on Thursday night.

Students, faculty, staff and even some of community members joined the celebration at County University Soccer Stadium as our Spartans wished Sparty a Happy Birthday and passed along good wishes to Chancellor Brendan Kelly on his investiture ceremony.

Attendees started the night with sweet treats such as Icees, birthday cake, cookies and ice cream and ended the evening with a bang, as fireworks were launched behind the stadium. Sparty took selfies with the crowd, did a little dancing and stood alongside the chancellor as everyone sang “Happy Birthday.”

Photo gallery from the party

Time capsule opened as part of week-long celebration

A bit of history was unveiled from inside the John C. Stockwell Administration Building.

A time capsule sealed in the cornerstone of the building in April 1970 by the Grand Master of the South Carolina Masons William Grimball was opened as part of the investiture celebration for Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly, Ph.D., and in celebration of the university's 50th Anniversary.

University archivist Ann Merryman and members of the library staff worked quickly to put items on display for viewing. Some of the items contained therein: A schedule of the first classes, a student handbook, a yearbook, as well as a Tri-Centennial Medallion bearing the seal of the State of South Carolina. 

Here is a complete list of items that were inside the time capsule

Photo gallery from the event

Coverage from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Follow the week's worth of coverage on Storify

RJ Rockers event kicks off week of celebration

It’s time to celebrate at USC Upstate. As the University celebrates its 50th anniversary, it also celebrates a new leader.

Although Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly, Ph.D., officially took office in March, he will be presented with the symbols of office, including the chancellor’s medallion during a formal Investiture ceremony on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017.

On Monday, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University met for the unveiling of “Upstate” beer brewed at R.J. Rockers Brewery in downtown Spartanburg.

Photo gallery from the event

Additional photos from the event


Citations congratulating Dr. Brendan Kelly
What is an investiture ceremony?

The Investiture Ceremony is counted among the oldest of traditions in academia. Originating in English universities and modeled after highly dignified knighthood ceremonies, investiture comes from the Latin phrase for "dress in robe." In academic circles, the term has come to mean one who will literally don the university's insignia and regalia.

The installation of a new chancellor is a ceremony of dignity with many academic traditions and protocols. An academic procession takes place that includes delegates from other colleges and universities, as well as USC Upstate’s own faculty.  Marchers wear the colorful academic regalia of their own institution. Interspersed with musical selections, there will be the processional, invocation, greetings from several university and community groups, presentation of the symbols of office, chancellor address, singing of the Alma Mater, benediction, and the recessional.

The investiture of a chancellor is a significant event in the life of a university. Since the University of South Carolina Upstate was founded in 1967, our institution has been guided by three chancellors, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the history of the university and the Upstate region. 

How long will the ceremony last?

The Investiture Ceremony will last no longer than one hour and 30 minutes. A picnic will immediately follow.

Who is invited to attend the ceremony?

Anyone who has an interest in attending the Investiture Ceremony is welcome.

What is the attire for the event?

The attire for the event is business casual.

Will the ceremony be on the web site?

Yes, the ceremony will be available via live stream on the web.

The Academic Procession

The ceremony will begin with a formal processional, much like a commencement, and includes the platform party who will participate in the ceremony, delegates from other colleges and universities, university faculty, and student representatives.

Participants wear full academic regalia during the investiture procession and installation ceremony. The chancellor marches in regalia with the school colors, but without the medallion of office, which will be presented during the ceremony.


The attire worn by participants in university inaugurations reflects symbolism dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. From medieval practice, academic dress has three items: cap, gown, and hood. Bachelor’s gowns are black with long, pointed, open sleeves. The master’s gown has a long, closed sleeve hanging below the elbow. Three bars of velvet on a full sleeve distinguish the doctor’s gown. For all degrees, the mortarboard is the traditional cap; doctors may elect to wear a velvet tam instead. The tassel may be gold or another color that indicates the field of study.

The length of the academic hood is the identifying symbol for the type of degree. A three and one-half-foot hood represents a master’s degree. The doctoral hood is four feet. The lining indicates the college or university that awarded the degree. The color of the velvet on master’s hoods represents the field of study. Velvet on doctoral hoods may represent the field of study or may be the traditional royal blue that represents the doctoral degree. The most frequently seen colors are white for arts, yellow for science, pink for music, blue for philosophy, light blue for education, brown for business, orange for engineering, turquoise for continuing studies, gray for general studies, and apricot for nursing.

The University of South Carolina Mace

The University of South Carolina Mace was designed and fashioned by Leslie Durbin, distinguished silversmith of London, England. Officially adopted in 1967, the mace was presented to the University as a memorial to Susan Richardson Guignard by an alumnus, Dr. George Curry.

The brilliantly gleaming silver and gilt mace is nearly four feet long. Mounted on the head are the seals of the University, the state of South Carolina, and the Great Seal of the United States. From the middle of these arises a stylistic representation of the state tree, the palmetto, the fronds of which are formed by a group of 13 stars, representing the founding colonies that include South Carolina. The shaft is decorated with eight stars, reminding us that South Carolina was the eighth state to enter the Union.

The mace is carried in procession on occasions of outstanding importance, such as commencements, convocations, and formal dedications. The placement of the mace on its stand signals that the proceedings are about to come to order; its retirement indicates the conclusion of the exercises.

The Chancellor's Medallion

The University of South Carolina Upstate Chancellor Medallion is crafted of bronze and also bears the seal of the University. The medallion is inscribed with the year 1967, which indicates the year USC Upstate was founded. Just above the medallion is a small plaque that bears the word chancellor. The medallion is worn for formal occasions, such as convocations, commencements, and inaugurations – a tradition that can be traced back to the Middle Ages.

Contact Us
For information on the Investiture Ceremony and other events, contact:
Tammy Whaley
Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Communications
Phone: 864-503-5210
Email: twhaley@uscupstate.edu