The University of South Carolina Upstate will award degrees to 927 students at its May Commencement on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m. on the Quad behind the John C. Stockwell Administration Building. The University also will recognize the Honorable Merita A. “Rita” Allison with an honorary degree for her interest in and service and passion for USC Upstate, as well as a staunch supporter and advocate for higher education throughout South Carolina.
“Commencement 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. Thomas F. “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.”
Moore will deliver his final commencement address. He has served as chancellor of USC Upstate since August 2011, leading the University toward its highest student enrollment of 6,000 and the highest occupancy ever in student housing.
Under his leadership, the University has taken bold steps in community engagement in both Spartanburg and Greenville which are helping USC Upstate to fulfill its vision as one of the leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast. A few of those initiatives include: the establishment of the USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center, located in the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, provides exceptional training for child protection workers and a place to improve their skills in detection, reporting and responding; the UPSTATE Gallery on Main which showcases the permanent work of Andy Warhol and offers its visitors the opportunity to see a variety of contemporary, original exhibitions in downtown Spartanburg; and an additional location at 501 River Street is providing a long-desired footprint in downtown Greenville.
Moore has focused on access, affordability, and accountability to USC Upstate throughout his tenure as chancellor. He promotes access to the highest quality educational experiences while remaining affordable by balancing tuition and merit- and need-based aid and being accountable to students, parents, the community, and the world.
Prior to coming to USC Upstate, Moore served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Winthrop University, located in Rock Hill, S.C., from 2003 until 2011. He joined Winthrop in 1986 as chair of the department of chemistry and physics, a position he held until 1994. In 1991, he became director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program. Moore served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2001 until 2003 and in the top position of faculty governance, representing faculty before Winthrop’s Board of Trustees, from 1996 until 2000. He began his academic career in 1978 in Statesboro, Ga., as assistant professor of chemistry at Georgia Southern College, where he taught until 1981. From 1981 to 1986, Moore was on the faculty at Birmingham-Southern College, first as an assistant professor of chemistry and later as associate professor and director of the Honors Program.
Moore earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and his doctorate in inorganic chemistry from the University of South Carolina. He has attended professional development programs at Harvard, Yale and Northwestern universities.
A native of Alabama, Moore and his wife, Marsha, have two sons, Charlie and Kirk. Outside of his professional career, Moore is an accomplished amateur photographer and an enthusiastic golfer.
Rep. Rita Allison will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from the University of South Carolina for her dedication in helping to advance and to improve higher education initiatives for the students of USC Upstate; and for her proven leadership and strong voice that have benefited the USC Upstate community and all citizens of South Carolina.
Allison has loyally served District 36 in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1993 to 2002 and from 2009 to the present. 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 in shaping the future of the Palmetto State.
A lifelong resident of Lyman, S.C., Rep. Allison is a wife, mother, grandmother, small business owner, and respected community leader who was educated in public schools. She brings a keen understanding of public education, making her a strong advocate for better K-12 and higher education throughout the state.
Rep. Allison has long been a champion of the University of South Carolina Upstate in the region as well as in the halls of the State House. As chair of the S.C. House Education and Public Works Committee, she is a strong advocate for better public education at all levels for all citizens of the state.
For more information regarding the May Commencement, please contact Cindy Evans at (864) 503-5985 or visit www.uscupstate.edu/graduation.