USC Upstate Celebrates Chancellor Investiture During Its 50th Anniversary

October 10, 2017 at 6:04 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate is in the midst of commemorating its 50th Anniversary and has kicked off a week full of activities to celebrate the investiture of its fourth chancellor, Dr. Brendan B. Kelly.

More than 200 people gathered at RJ Rockers Brewery on Monday evening for the unveiling of a beer featuring a USC Upstate label celebrating the University’s 50th Anniversary. Produced in limited selection, the beer’s label features key facts about the university and its signature “gold dome,” found at the John C. Stockwell Administration Building on campus. Very limited quantities of the beer will be available at RJ Rockers through Friday. The cost is $8.

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, USC Upstate will host “See History, Make History” at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to witness the removal of a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone of the Administration Building on April 17, 1970 to commemorate the official opening of the campus, which was then known as University of South Carolina – Spartanburg Regional Campus. The contents of the time capsule will be displayed until 6 p.m.

These events lead up to the formal investiture ceremony of Dr. Brendan B. Kelly on Friday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. on the Main Quad behind the John C. Stockwell Administration Building. The word “Investiture” comes from the Latin phrase meaning “to dress in robe.” The Investiture Ceremony is one of the oldest traditions in academia, dating back to early English universities.

Although Kelly officially began his duties as chancellor on March 1, 2017, President Harris Pastides will present him with the symbols of office, including the chancellor’s medallion, during Friday morning’s ceremony. The medallion is etched with the year of USC Upstate’s founding in 1967, the word chancellor and the USC seal.

“Brendan Kelly is the right person at the right time for the University of South Carolina Upstate,” said USC President Pastides. “Excellence and opportunity sparked a connection between USC Upstate and Dr. Brendan B. Kelly.  USC Upstate is an excellent institution that is in a region primed for growth and Brendan is young enough and agile enough to define its future.”

Nearly 800 people, including delegates from about 20 colleges and universities across the state, are expected to attend Friday’s ceremony, which will be followed by a luncheon.

The celebration continues throughout the weekend with alumni of the USC Upstate Gospel Choir convening on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 12 noon for rehearsal in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom. Following the practice, the choir will hold a meet and greet reception to honor Dr. Warren Carson who led the choir for 25 years and will retire from USC Upstate in December after an incredibly successful 34-year career.

“It seems only fitting that we pay tribute to Dr. Carson,” said Stacey Mills, a 2003   graduate of USC Upstate and the executive director of its Greenville Campus. “Dr. Carson is a rare individual who has made a strong and lasting impact on the lives of thousands of individuals whose lives he has touched during his lengthy career at USC Upstate.”

Founded nearly 40 years ago, the Gospel Choir has performed locally, nationally and internationally. Members of the Gospel Choir develop and maintain strong ties resulting in the largest alumni affiliated organization at USC Upstate. Bound together with a love of music and a commitment to honor African-American culture, the USC Upstate Gospel Choir boasts educators, business people, pastors, choir directors, counselors and community leaders among its alumni.

Carson received tremendous response from former choir members when he raised the idea of organizing a USC Upstate Gospel Choir Reunion Concert to mark the University’s 50th Anniversary. Nearly 200 alumni have responded with interest in attending on Saturday and performing in the concert on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 700 South Converse Street in Spartanburg. The concert is free and open to the public.

“Undoubtedly, one of the Southeast’s premier choirs, the USC Upstate Gospel Choir features seasoned performers whose talent is parallel to their spirit and enthusiasm,” said Chancellor Kelly. “I can think of no better way to conclude this week’s Investiture Celebration than with the reunion of alumni choir members who clearly exhibit their love of music and their alma mater.”