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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.   

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


John Perry
Executive Director of University Boards & Public Affairs
Phone: (864) 503-5242
Email: jperry@uscupstate.edu

USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303