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The Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education will hold its 47th annual Founders Day Celebration where it will honor five individuals who have contributed greatly to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Founders Day will be held on Thursday, February 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom.

“The Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education is pleased to host this celebration each year as it provides an opportunity to pay particular tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in support of USC Upstate and on behalf of the people we serve,” said Thomas R. Young, III, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education.

Dodie AndersonThe G.B. Hodge, M.D. Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest recognition the Commission can grant and is designed to recognize a lifetime of history altering influence on the shape, character and destiny of the University of South Carolina Upstate. This award will be presented to Dolores “Dodie” Anderson ʼ81. In 2010, she provided the University with a $4 million gift to renovate the G.B. Hodge Center, where all of the basketball and volleyball games are played. The $4 million gift to USC Upstate marks the largest single gift to the Athletics Department in University history. Anderson received the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education Founders’ Day Award in 1986 and was inducted into the University’s Honor Fraternity in May 2005. She is a former member of the USC Upstate Foundation Board of Directors. In 2006, on the 25th anniversary of her graduation from USC Upstate, Anderson was bestowed the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award. She is the former owner of Anderson Hardwood Floors in Clinton and Walterboro, S.C., the largest privately owned hardwood floor manufacturer in the United States. In addition to supporting USC Upstate, Anderson is a loyal supporter of USC Gamecock football, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and the Greenville Humane Society.

Rita AllisonThe Founders Day Award provides recognition to those persons in the larger community who have been of exceptional assistance to the University. This award will be presented to The Honorable Rita Allison who has loyally served District 36 in the South Carolina House of Representatives for more than a decade. She has consistently demonstrated a unique combination of service, strength, leadership, and awareness in representing not only her district, but all citizens of South Carolina. Her service on the S.C. House Education and Public Works Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee has often led to her advocacy for USC Upstate. She has consistently been a strong advocate for education in both K-12 and higher education in the state. Representative Allison has long been a champion of the University in the Upstate and in the halls of the General Assembly. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the University in making the case for parity funding which would assure that USC Upstate students receive state funding equivalent to that provided at peer institutions. Rep. Allison is a true friend of USC Upstate and will tell anyone and everyone the importance of this University in the Upstate and beyond. She will let all know that we deserve to be funded at the level of other institutions in the state.

The Award for Distinguished Service honors those who have demonstrated a long and distinguished career of service to the University, characterized by exceptional dedication to the work at hand and to the institution. Mr. Mike Bruce, Dr. Warren Carson, and Dr. Judith Kizer will receive the Award for Distinguished Service.

BRUCE, MIKE Director , Risk ManagementA native of the Upstate, Bruce enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the Vietnam War where he earned the Naval Achievement Award, U.S. Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Service Award.  Following his tour of duty, Bruce returned to his hometown, enrolled at USC Upstate (then USC Spartanburg) as a non-traditional student and graduated in 1977 with a degree in business, marketing and criminal justice. Shortly after graduation, he began working for the University. During his tenure at USC Upstate, Bruce has dedicated his time to areas where he’s been called to serve, from campus security, public safety, motor pool/transportation operations, parking and vehicle registration development to telephone, fiber optics and campus communications, and even as an aerial photographer. Most notably, Bruce served as campus police chief for 20 years. He currently is the director of risk management. Bruce’s career at USC Upstate demonstrates the highest standards of commitment and dedication.

Carson WarrenDr. Warren Carson earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in African-American Studies from Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina. Carson is in his 30th year at USC Upstate where he has been a professor of English and African-American Studies; chair of the Department of Languages, Literature, and Composition; assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences; interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; senior associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and chief diversity officer; interim vice chancellor at the USC Upstate Greenville campus; and interim senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. He currently serves as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief diversity officer. Even while serving in an administrative capacity, Dr. Carson has continued to teach every term. His work with students extends beyond the classroom. For 25 years, he served as director for the USC Upstate Gospel Choir. Dr. Carson has been a role model and mentor for hundreds of USC Upstate students. He has served and continues to serve the University in numerous ways with dedication and unwavering commitment to student learning and development.

USC Upstate CommencementDr. Judith Kizer came to the USC Upstate campus as an instructor 37 years ago motivated by a desire to teach. She has spent her career seeking to empower and equip students to succeed.  She served as chair of the psychology department from 2009-2013. An advocate for post-undergraduate study, Dr. Kizer works to provide students with opportunities to attend and present at professional conferences to introduce them to a broader look at their field of study, obtain feedback from professionals, and build their resumes in ways that increase their opportunities to pursue quality graduate education. Throughout her career, Dr. Kizer has led, mentored, and motivated many students to seek education and careers beyond anything they imagined when they enrolled in USC Upstate. Through this dedication to students and their futures, she has transformed lives of individuals, communities, and the world. Dr. Kizer earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and in English from Florida State University and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Florida.

“Founders’ Day provides the perfect platform for us to celebrate the founding of our institution and to recognize people who have made USC Upstate what it is through their careers, their contributions, and their commitments,” said Chancellor Tom Moore.

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