The Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education will hold its 48th annual Founders’ Day Celebration where it will honor three individuals who have contributed greatly to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Founders’ Day will be held on Thursday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the University Readiness Center.
Dr. Kevin Krause ’06, an adjunct instructor of history at USC Upstate, will deliver the keynote address. In 2000, a diving accident left Krause paralyzed from the chest down and ended his culinary career as an assistant chef at a four star restaurant. Four years later, he enrolled at USC Upstate to complete his college degree and soon embarked upon an unexpected journey that led to earning a Ph.D. in history and returning to campus to teach, where he is highly-respected and admired among students and faculty. The story of Krause’s courage is a true inspiration.
“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,” said Thomas R. Young, III, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education. “The unwavering commitment of these awardees and the vital role they each play in enriching the legacy of USC Upstate is a true testament to why this University was founded in 1967.”
The 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 C. Dan Adams ’83, president and chief executive officer of The Capital Corporation, for his service to USC Upstate as an alumnus, donor and member of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education and the USC Upstate Foundation. Adams has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to providing higher education to the students of the Upstate and has utilized his political connections to assist the University in educating the South Carolina Legislature and the general public regarding the need for parity funding among all 10 South Carolina public comprehensive institutions. In 2008, the University recognized Adams with the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in recognition of his many professional accomplishments and philanthropic work. Adams co-founded The Capital Corporation in 1991 as an investment banking firm focusing on mergers and acquisitions to the middle market. Since the firm’s founding, he has led The Capital Corporation in becoming one of the largest and most influential merger and acquisition boutiques in the Southeast. Active in civic affairs, Adams currently serves on several nonprofit boards including The Museum Association, Artisphere Board, Heart Ball and Rose Ball. He has also served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club.
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. James “Jimm” R. Cox and Frederick “Rick” D. Puncke, Jr. will receive the Award for Distinguished Service.
Cox, now in his 42nd year of teaching in the University of South Carolina system, is being honored for a long and distinguished career of service to the University characterized by his extraordinary commitment to students both in and out of the classroom as a teacher and mentor. His exceptional leadership of the theatre program has earned it national and international recognition and fostered collaboration that established an exclusive partnership with The Rose Theatre in London, as well as an agreement with SCETV that allows campus studios to be used as teaching studios for students in journalism. In addition, his efforts have ensured that the United States is represented by USC Upstate theatre students at the International Youth Arts Festival each July, while his last production of “Memigery” advanced to the American College Theatre Festival Regional IV finals. Each summer, Cox spends five weeks with USC Upstate students in London, England, where he teaches a foreign study program that he developed nearly 20 years ago. Cox has been cited for excellence in directing by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the American College Theatre Festival for four of the last six productions that he has directed on the Upstate campus. He was named the 2009 South Carolina Art Administrator of the Year in Higher Education and was nominated for the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. USC Upstate has twice nominated Cox for the United States Professor of the Year Award.
Puncke, who retired at the end of January after serving for 22 years as director of facilities management, is being honored for a long and distinguished career of service to the University characterized by his exceptional dedication of time and talent in working to provide top-notch campus facilities in an ever-growing and changing environment. Puncke’s first project was to oversee the construction of the Olin B. Sansbury, Jr. Campus Life Center, which opened in 1995. Over the years he served as a liaison for the University between USC and numerous local and state agencies to build new facilities and to make capital improvements to older University buildings. Puncke provided unparalleled leadership in the implementation of the 10-year, $185 million master plan that literally transformed both the physical footprint and reputation of the institution with new academic facilities, expanded parking, residential housing, athletics and recreational facilities, beautification initiatives, and new infrastructure to create a highly visible entrance to campus that included the expansion of existing roads and creation of new roads. He was vital in successfully growing the campus from its once small beginnings to the size and complexity now known as USC Upstate. In addition, he led the campus in sustainability efforts that resulted in state and national recognition and fostered and maintained relationships with external partners and vendors which enabled USC Upstate to best utilize capital dollars and resources to provide the best facilities and a safe environment for students, employees and citizens within the University community.
“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.