Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education

Members of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education shall be composed of 15 members to be appointed by the governor on the recommendation of a majority of the resident members of the House of Representatives and the Senate from Spartanburg County.

In addition to the 15 members, two additional members of the Commission shall be appointed; one who is a resident of Greenville County and one who is a resident of Cherokee County. 

  • Thomas R. Young III Thomas R. Young III
    Chair
    Milton A. Smith, Jr.

    Milton A. Smith Jr. '78
    Vice Chair

    Charles Babb

    Charles H. Babb
    Secretary/Treasurer

    C. Dan Adams

    C. Dan Adams '83

    VicBaileyIII

    Vollie C. (Vic) Bailey III

    DavidChurchPHD

    David L. Church DHA '92

    Susan G. Clary

    Susan G. Clary '77

    William R. Cobb

    William R. Cobb '74

    Charles Conrad

    T. Charles Conrad III

    David L. Eubanks, Ed.D.

    David L. Eubanks, Ed.D.

    Jennifer Evins

    Jennifer Evins

    Ronald Garner, Ph.D.

    Ronald Garner, Ph.D. '94

    Benjamin Graves

    Benjamin Graves

    Max T. Hyde, Jr.

    Max T. Hyde Jr.

    Toney J. Lister

    Toney J. Lister, Esq.,
    Ex-Officio

    Harold D. McClain

    Harold D. McClain

    John B. Travers

    John B. Travers

    Emerson F. Wolfe Jr.

    Emerson F. Wolfe Jr.

    Jane Bottsford

    Jane Bottsford
    Emeritus Member

    James R. Smith

    James R. Smith, '72
    Emeritus Member

    • To fulfill its legislatively prescribed duties in representing Spartanburg County, South Carolina. with regard to the pursuit of higher education in Spartanburg County and adjacent areas of Upstate South Carolina.
    • To serve as lead advocate for the interest and advancement of USC Upstate with regional legislative delegations, with all constituencies of USC Upstate and with the public and to actively involve the Commission for Higher Education Advisory Board in that effort.
    • To exercise reasonable fiduciary responsibility with regard to the ownership, use, management and development of real estate and/or personal property owned by Spartanburg County/Commission for Higher Education and used in support of the University of South Carolina Upstate and/or in pursuit of higher education in Spartanburg County and adjacent areas of Upstate South Carolina.
    • For each and every member of the Commission for Higher Education to reasonably contribute an annual gift to the Commission for Higher Education in support of the University, without imposing hardship on any member. This mission statement component shall be on a strictly voluntary basis.
    • To act assertively in support of USC Upstate being considered, treated and supported by USC Columbia as a full partner in the USC system, provided with sufficient autonomy to address the unique challenges and issues of the USC Upstate board approved mission and vision and to be supported by a level of resources appropriate to those efforts.
    • To actively solicit and develop friendships and relationships in support of the USC Upstate mission and vision statements. 
    • For each and every member of the Commission for Higher Education to be fully informed regarding issues, opportunities and challenges and to be fully engaged in the process of advancing the interests of USC Upstate.
    • To maintain a collegial, respectful and productive dialogue among and with each other, with the President and Board of Trustees of the University and the USC Upstate Chancellor, faculty & staff, and all other parties of interest.
    • To advise and assist the Chancellor and cabinet on all matters relating to USC Upstate. 
    • To continually study, discuss and analyze any issue deemed relevant to the powers and duties of the Commission in an independent unabridged and unencumbered environment.

    Approved 4/28/05

  • 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. The second chairman, businessman Jim Smith, ('72), a freshman at USCS in 1968, was appointed to the Commission in 1991 and served as Chairman from 2001 to 2011. Thomas "Tommy" R. Young, III became Chairman of the Commission in August 2011. Members of the Commission are nominated by the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation and appointed by the governor, for a term of four years. (A list of the current members can be found here.)

    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.

    The roles of Commission members include a number of important duties including serving in an advisory role to the Chancellor on all matters of institutional importance, providing recognition of service contributions to the University, assisting with the acquisition of land, supporting capital facilities development and participating 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.

    The Commission has established several awards to recognize outstanding service to the University, including the G.B. Hodge, MD Lifetime Achievement Award, Founder's Day Award, CHE Distinguished Service Award and CHE citations.

    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.

  • Role of Commission Members

    Selection of the Chancellor
    The Commission plays a key participatory and advisory role in the selection of the University’s Chancellor.  A representative of the Commission serves on the Chancellor’s Search Committee, and the leadership of the Commission is consulted by the President of the University of South Carolina in the selection of a Chancellor.

    Evaluate/Support the USC Upstate Mission, Vision and Goals
    The mission, vision and goals of the University are subject to periodic review by the Chancellor with the Commission, and are evaluated and subsequently supported by the Commission.

    USC Upstate defines itself as a “metropolitan university,” and this conception is at the center of its mission statement.  The University’s vision is to emerge as one of the leading metropolitan universities of the Southeast.  Its goals are designed to lead to the accomplishment of that vision, with objectives articulated annually in support of these goals.  Annual budgets and initiatives are planned to support the accomplishment of these annual objectives.

    The mission and the vision are subject only to the most infrequent and evolutionary change.  The same is true of the goals, which change only slowly over time as annual objectives are framed and accomplished.

    Advisory Role to the Chancellor
    The Commission is free to advise the Chancellor on all matters; and on matters of substantive change or accomplishment, the Chancellor is expected to seek the counsel of the Commission.  On all matters of institutional importance, it is understood that the Chancellor is to keep the leadership of the Commission informed.

    Lead Advocacy for the University
    As the closest and most significant community leadership advisory board to the University and to the Chancellor, the Commission and its members are expected to be the University’s lead advocates on behalf of its needs and ambitions.

    This advocacy may take the form of communications with elected officials, sponsorships of advisory meetings, community engagement on behalf of the University, etc.

    Campus Master Planning and Facilities Planning
    Key functions of the Commission are acquisition of land/real estate as necessary to support University operations, master planning and facilities planning of the University’s property on behalf of Spartanburg County, and campus beautification.  The master plan, subject to final approval by the USC Board of Trustees, is continually reviewed by the Commission and updated in consultation with the University’s Chancellor and Director of Facilities Planning.  The Commission plays a vital role in assuring the integrity of the master plan and of facilities/grounds development within its framework.

    Management of the CHE Endowment Fund
    The USC Upstate Foundation administers a gift account for the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education.

    This account was established in April 2005 with an initial contribution of $75,000 from College Pointe Apartments.  Individual gifts since that time have brought the account balance, as of June 30, 2011, to $124.681.40.  Rental income from duplexes on Valley Falls Road, owned by the CHE and managed by Chase Furnas, will also be added to the endowment. The purpose of this Endowment Fund is to provide for the annual awards presented at Founders Day, as well as to meet extraordinary needs presented by the USC Upstate Chancellor on behalf of the University.

    Conduct of Founders’ Day and Special Events
    On the third Thursday of every February, the University celebrates “Founders’ Day,” a Commission sponsored event designed to honor and recognize members of the University community and the larger community who have played key roles in the progress of the institution.  It is at this event that the Commission offers the awards described in the following sections.

    Commissioners participate in other University events as well, most especially in the December and May commencement exercises, wherein the Chairman or his designee delivers greetings to the graduates on behalf of the Commission.  All Commissioners are invited to these ceremonies and encouraged to attend.

    Commissioners are invited to participate in numerous other University special events as well.  The administration makes every effort to specify those events at which Commissioners are strongly encouraged to attend and those to which Commissioners are invited but not necessarily expected to attend.

    Recognize Service Contributions to the University
    The Commission seeks to recognize outstanding service to the University by means of three distinct categories of awards, typically – though not always – presented at the annual Founders’ Day event.  They are as follows:

    • G.B. Hodge, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Founders’ Day Award
    • Commission Distinguished Service Award
  • Calendar of Commission and Executive Committee Meetings
    All meetings are held on Thursday at Noon on the campus of USC Upstate. Executive Committee and full Commission meetings are scheduled in September, November, February, April and June.

    An additional session is typically scheduled in December to which the membership of the Board of Advisers and the Legislative Delegation are invited.

    September 2017 Agenda

  • The Commission created an awards program to acknowledge people who have made outstanding contributions to USC Upstate; people who have shown dedication, a strong work ethic, and a commitment of purpose over a long period of time; and people from every vocation who supports this University. The Commission presents the awards featured below at the annual Founders Day Event, which is held the third Thursday of every February.

    G.B. Hodge, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award

    Criteria: Highest award given by CHE. Consideration for a “lifetime” of service to USC Upstate including extraordinary actions, gifts, and/or “history altering” influence. Named in honor of Dr. Hodge, founding chairman of the Spartanburg Commission for Higher Education.

    Selection Process: Nominations to CHE Executive Committee by November 1st.  Selection by Executive Committee subject to ratification by Full Commission.

    Recognition: Honored at Founders’ Day event with a plaque, a portrait to be hung in Stockwell Administration Building, and a monumental tree to be planted in the Commissioners’ Grove.

    Founders’ Day Award

    Criteria: Recognition to those persons in the larger community who have been of exceptional assistance to the University.

    Selection Process: Nominations to CHE Executive Committee by November 1st.  Selection by Executive Committee subject to ratification by Full Commission.

    Recognition: Honored at Founder’s Day event with a resolution and plaque.

    Commission Distinguished Service Award

    Criteria: Recognition of a faculty member(s) and/or a staff member(s) 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. It also may to honor a senior student(s) for similar reasons, graduating in May or December ceremonies.

    Selection Process: Members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet are to submit written nominations for award recipients through the Chancellor to the Chairman of the Commission by November 1st of each year.  Commission members may also nominate award recipients directly.  Selection by Executive Committee subject to ratification by Full Commission.

    Recognition: Cash awards. The Commission intends to make its annual awards in amounts and quantities supported by earnings on the endowment of Commission members’ gifts given for this explicit purpose.  The endowment capital balance shall not be invaded or reduced for the purpose of making awards.  Annual gifts by members of the Commission shall be used to increase the endowment balance. Presentation will be made at Founders’ Day event.