Dr. Russell Booker to Receive Honorary Degree at USC Upstate Commencement Ceremony

Dr. Russell Booker speaks at USC Upstate’s Convocation last fall. The university will award Booker the honorary degree of doctor of public service at its spring commencement.

The University of South Carolina Upstate will award Dr. Russell Booker, CEO of the Spartanburg Academic Movement, the honorary degree of doctor of public service during its commencement ceremony on April 30. Booker will also deliver the commencement address to the more than 600 master’s and bachelor’s graduates.

“It is an honor to recognize Dr. Russell Booker at our April commencement ceremony,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. “His leadership on education issues throughout his career has transformed the lives of countless Spartanburg County students. He is a true public servant who shares USC Upstate’s commitment to creating a thriving and just society, and we are delighted to celebrate him with this honorary degree.”

The commencement ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the main quad at USC Upstate. It will also be livestreamed at uscupstate.edu/graduation. Harris will preside over the ceremony.

Booker, a Spartanburg County native, began his career in education as a teacher in Spartanburg County public schools, then served as principal at Cowpens Middle School and at Landrum High School. After serving as superintendent of York School District 1 for 3½ years, he was named superintendent of Spartanburg School District 7 in 2010. He led a total restructuring of the district that included a complete digital immersion and a comprehensive capital plan.

Following his retirement from District 7 in 2020, Booker was named chief executive officer of the Spartanburg Academic Movement, a nonprofit partnership of education, business, government, foundation, community, and faith leaders across Spartanburg County pursuing high-level academic success for all Spartanburg County students. His work with the organization led to the creation of Movement 2030, a plan to advance economic mobility and educational attainment in Spartanburg County.

Dr. Booker is board chair of StriveTogether, board director of Purpose Built Communities, and is a trustee at Wingate University, the Mary Black Foundation, and the Spartanburg Regional Hospital Foundation. He also is a By All Means senior fellow at Harvard University’s EdRedesign Lab in the Graduate School of Education.