Crowley To Receive Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

December 15, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Chris Crowley 2011This University of South Carolina Upstate alumnus is working to make his community a better place, starting with the campus where he earned his degree.

Chris Crowley graduated from Upstate in 2011 and stepped up to lead the University’s $50 million Capital Campaign in 2012.

Video of Chris Crowley.

Because of his efforts and dedication, Crowley will be recognized as USC Upstate’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni of the Year at the Convocation for the Recognition of December Graduates on Tuesday, December 17 at 7 p.m. at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.

“If you want to change the economic future of the Upstate, what better place to start than USC Upstate,” Crowley said. “If you don’t have quality people to fill jobs, then businesses won’t come.”

Crowley understands the business world. He’s spent more than 23 years operating Cherokee Textiles with 10 of those years as its CEO. It was during that time he decided he should complete his college degree.

Crowley said that he had attended three colleges but never earned enough credits to finish his degree. He returned to USC Upstate in May 2010, and it wasn’t long before he realized what made the campus so special.

“I fell in love with the kids,” Crowley said. “I realized how many of them were first-time college students, the first generation from their family to attend college.”

With that in mind, Crowley readily accepted the challenge of leading the University’s Capital Campaign.

Crowley said with the largest majority of the student body coming from the Upstate area and many making their homes here after graduation, he said it is important to grow the University’s presence.

“USC Upstate graduates are the ones who are going to staff any new companies,” Crowley said. “In lots of ways, the economic future of this community is tied to USC Upstate more so than any other institution of higher education.”

It’s an investment that Crowley has made both professionally and personally.

In his letter to the nominating committee, Dr. Robert McCormick, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy and American Studies, wrote that one of Crowley’s greatest achievements was his compassion for Upstate students. McCormick said that on numerous occasions, Crowley had purchased books for students struggling financially, helped with transportation, and helped students find employment.

“His sincere determination to uplift Upstate citizens to heights they believe unobtainable is his greatest attribute and contribution,” McCormick said. “Spartanburg is lucky to have Chris Crowley in its community. Likewise, the University has no greater champion.”

In addition to his work with USC Upstate, Crowley led the capital campaign for the construction of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Spartanburg Day School. He is married to Garrow Crowley and has three children, Kathleen, Mark and Elsa Crowley.