USC Upstate mourns the loss of Cleveland Harley

August 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Early evening on Monday, August 5, USC Upstate, its athletic department and the Spartanburg community lost a dear friend and a loyal supporter when Cleveland S. Harley passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 89.

Mr. Harley was an institution in Spartanburg throughout his life. Not only was he a tremendous business leader, he also had a vision and desire to assist the Spartanburg community. A 1950 graduate of Wofford College, he was one of the leaders in the community and one of the founding members of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education which helped establish USC Upstate. He believed the community needed an affordable and accessible public institution for higher learning as an alternative to the other private colleges in town. For his vision and efforts in helping establish USC Upstate, he was awarded the G.B. Hodge, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commission in 2011. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Commission and is designed to recognize a lifetime of history altering influence on the shape, character and destiny of USC Upstate.

After helping establish USC Upstate as a member of the Commission, Mr. Harley remained a loyal friend to the university. He mentored students, donated to student scholarships, established the Curtis R. Harley Art Gallery in honor of his first wife, supported the athletic department’s annual fundraising golf tournament which bears his name and was the sole private benefactor in funding the Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park.

Just as Mr. Harley served USC Upstate, he served his community. After serving in the military as a member of the Navy in World War II, he was a Founding Board Member of Mary Black Hospital and the Founder and Chairman of Community Action Program. Additionally, he served in leadership roles with Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way of the Piedmont, Greenwood Methodist Home and Charles Lea Center. He was a Master Mason, a member of Masonic Lodge #333, and was a Masonic State Constable for more than 50 years. He received the State of South Carolina Order of the Silver Crescent in 2005. He also supported his alma mater, Wofford, by establishing two endowed scholarships in the athletic department as well as additional support for the college.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at Trinity United Methodist Church. A private entombment will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens Mausoleum Complex. The family will receive friends from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Country Club of Spartanburg. In keeping with Mr. Harley’s philanthropy, the family asks that memorials can be made to USC Upstate and Wofford, with Upstate’s contributions made to the USC Upstate Foundation Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park.

The USC Upstate community joins the many other institutions and individuals in mourning the loss of a friend, a leader and a legend.