The University of South Carolina Upstate will hold its Convocation Honoring December Graduates on Tuesday, December 16 at 6:45 p.m. at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. The University will award degrees to 411 graduates.
“Graduation is always a time for celebration as we recognize those who have completed their experiences here and leave us to use capacities they have developed here for further study, productive work, and meaningful living,” said Dr. Tom Moore, chancellor of USC Upstate. “The graduates we recognize this year will further the impact of USC Upstate on Upstate South Carolina and the world. This will be a particularly joyful graduation as we will recognize two outstanding alumni for their career accomplishments, civic service within their local community, and service to the University.”
USC Upstate will present the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards to Wanda L. Fowler ’69 and Christopher Hawkins ’89. Fowler will deliver the graduation address.
Fowler began her journey through higher education in 1967 when she became one of the very first students to enroll at USC Upstate (then USC Spartanburg), where she was actively involved in student council and a work study program for the first director. Her lifelong commitment to education began in the traditional classroom where she taught English at Boiling Springs High School for 21 years. In 1993, Fowler accepted the position of executive director for Graduate Regional Studies at USC Upstate, where she worked closely with curriculum coordinators from Spartanburg, Cherokee, Greenville, Union, and Greenwood Counties to plan courses for teachers. She consulted with faculty from the USC Columbia campus to plan graduate programs to be offered on the Spartanburg campus that included master’s and doctorate programs. At the same time, Fowler wrote and secured grant opportunities for teacher education, and wrote proposals and secured funding for the Principals Leadership Academy. During her five years at USC Upstate, Fowler was also an instructor of undergraduate and graduate courses. In 1998, Wanda accepted the position of Executive Director of Middle Tyger Community Center where she was able to collaborate with the school district and other organizations to offer support to children and families.
Hawkins has seen the USC Upstate athletics program through the eyes of both student and coach. A member of the school’s first varsity baseball team in 1986, he earned his spot as one of the all-time greats in the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. Hawkins began working at USC Upstate as an assistant softball coach under Mark Cooke, after graduating with a degree in physical education in 1989. Now in his 21st season as head coach, Hawkins is the winningest coach in Upstate softball history and in the history of the USC Upstate Athletics Department, with 727 victories. Hawkins coached the 2013 softball team to the program’s and the department’s first-ever A-Sun Tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. In 2013, the team received the program’s and department’s first-ever Top 25 national ranking. He became the first USC Upstate coach to lead a team to a No. 1 statistical ranking in the NCAA, coaching the team to the nation’s top defense to end the 2013 season. In 2014, he led the Spartans to a Division I record for wins and was named A-Sun Coach of the Year. He has coached eight of USC Upstate’s nine 40-win seasons in program history. Under his leadership, the school has won three Atlantic Sun titles and appeared six times in the NCAA tournament.
USC Upstate offers baccalaureate programs in more than 40 majors and concentrations—in the liberal arts, sciences, business administration, nursing, and teacher education. The University offers master’s degree programs in elementary education and early childhood education, special education –visual impairment, informatics, and nursing. Currently 5,600 students are enrolled and USC Upstate boasts an alumni base of more than 24,000, with the majority of these graduates remaining in the Upstate to build their lives and careers.
For more information regarding the May Commencement, please contact Cindy Evans at (864) 503-5985 or visit www.uscupstate.edu/graduation.