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The History of USC Upstate

The history of the University of South Carolina Upstate is a chronicle of remarkable development. In 1967, the university was founded in response to efforts undertaken by G.B. Hodge, M.D., together with fellow members of the Spartanburg County Commission on Higher Education and a remarkably strong founding faculty, primarily to avert a serious health care labor shortage crisis when Spartanburg General Hospital announced plans to eliminate its diploma program for registered nurses. A citizen's committee investigated the situation and ultimately requested that Spartanburg be included in the University of South Carolina system. The Spartanburg Regional Campus, as it was first known, opened its doors in the fall of 1967 to 177 students on the first floor of the Spartanburg General Hospital nursing residence.

Enrollment continued to increase, which resulted in the school becoming a four-year university in 1975 and being renamed the University of South Carolina Spartanburg (USCS). During the next 20 years, the campus began to take physical shape with the construction of additional academic buildings. Enrollment continued to grow and degree offerings were expanded.

In the 1990s, a metropolitan mission  was developed for the institution and a 10-year strategic master plan for the campus was implemented. The University's numerous partnerships with public and private corporations and other educational institutions, coupled with the mission to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina, led to a name change. On June 30, 2004, with the USC Board of Trustees approval, USCS changed its name to the University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate).

The Makings of a Metropolitan University  

Now in its 50th year, USC Upstate continues striving toward its vision to become one of the Southeast’s leading “metropolitan” universities. ... a university which acknowledges as its fundamental reason for being its relationship to its surrounding cities, their connecting corridors and expanding populations. It aims to be recognized nationally among its peer metropolitan institutions for its excellence in education and commitment to its students, for its involvement in the Upstate, for its operational and managerial effectiveness, for its civility and common purpose, and for the clarity and integrity of its mission. As a senior comprehensive public institution of the University of South Carolina, the University’s primary responsibilities are to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina and to offer selected master’s degrees in response to regional demand.

Since its founding, USC Upstate has grown from a small, two-year campus into one of the leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast. This growth has been a direct response to the needs of the Upstate – a tradition that began with the University’s creation. The University has expanded well beyond nursing to include 40 bachelor’s and master’s programs in the liberal arts, sciences, business, information systems, teacher education and nursing.

In 1994, the University moved to the graduate level, offering master’s degree programs in elementary education, early childhood education, special education: visual impairment, Informatics and Nursing.

Developing a Significant Presence in Greenville  

From its inception, the University has bound its fortunes to one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, the I-85 corridor connecting Atlanta and Charlotte. USC Upstate – a metropolitan university – serves the cities of Spartanburg and Greenville and their surrounding communities, home to a million people and the highest per capita international investment of any counties in the nation. The focus is on the higher education interests of Upstate South Carolina and partnerships with its important enterprises.

Along with the enormous growth on the Spartanburg campus, USC Upstate has developed a significant presence in Greenville at the University Center Greenville (UCG), a nonprofit consortium of seven higher education institutions dedicated to increasing access to educational opportunities for the citizens of the Greater Greenville Metropolitan Area of South Carolina.

USC Upstate is the largest provider of undergraduate academic programs at the University Center Greenville, generating over 70 percent of the Center’s baccalaureate enrollment. The University’s critical partner in this growth is Greenville Technical College (GTC). Both institutions aim to provide opportunities for students to complete technical or associate degrees at GTC, and then move seamlessly into junior-through-senior bachelor’s level degree completion programs in numerous related disciplines at USC Upstate.

USC Upstate Greenville Campus currently offers the junior and senior years of study for 11 undergraduate degree programs and one graduate degree program, each taught by highly qualified and dedicated faculty. 

The degree programs are as follows:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Systems (includes on-site and online courses)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN online and onsite and the last two years of the four-year BSN program)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (with concentrations in accounting and general business administration)
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communications (with a concentration in mass media)
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Middle Level Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Special Education/Learning Disabilities
  • Master of Science in Informatics (includes on-site and online courses)

Serving the Upstate

With both a thriving campus in Spartanburg and an escalating presence in Greenville, the University is “The University of South Carolina in the Upstate,” supporting not only its own academic programs, but partnering with USC in hosting future programs that USC may place in the I-85 corridor. While continuing to grow in Spartanburg , the University has delivered more and more of its degree programs within the framework of the University Center Greenville. The name change occurred to position the University to develop the breadth of partnerships in Greenville it has and will continue to develop in Spartanburg and elsewhere across the I-85 corridor.

Among the fastest growing universities in South Carolina, USC Upstate is a diverse and dynamic community of approximately 6,000 students from across the world. With 26 states and 17 countries represented among the student body, the University reflects the Upstate’s international character.

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Contact Us

Spartanburg Campus
USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Phone: 864-503-5000
Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Email: info@uscupstate.edu

Greenville Campus
USC Upstate Greenville Campus
225 South Pleasantburg Dr.
Greenville, SC 29607
Phone: 864-552-4242
Toll-free: 800-277-8727
Email:  greenville@uscupstate.edu