Lister’s Name to Grace University’s Gateway Interchange

November 10, 2017 at 11:57 am

Toney J. Lister stands in front of a photo of the interchange sign.

A ceremony to announce the naming of the Interstate-585/East Campus Boulevard interchange in honor of prominent local attorney Toney J. Lister was held on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in the lobby of the John C. Stockwell Administration Building on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate.

“I could not be more pleased that we are honoring Toney Lister especially during USC Upstate’s 50th Anniversary,” said Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly. “Having Toney as part of our leadership enhances our ability to make this University successful.”

South Carolina Senator Scott Talley, who along with S.C. Senators Shane Martin, Harvey Peeler and Glenn Reese, introduced resolution for the naming of the Toney J. Lister Interchange to the General Assembly, said Lister had been a great mentor to him as a young lawyer. “You can’t find anyone who cares more deeply about USC Upstate and the USC System than Toney Lister.”

Lister, a Spartanburg native, has long been an advocate for both USC Upstate and the USC System. He has served on the USC Board of Trustees since 1994, and is an ex-officio member of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education.

“Toney Lister has provided service and advocacy for USC Upstate over the years that has been immeasurable,” said Tommy Young, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education. “Serving as a member of the USC Board of Trustees has allowed Toney to influence and impact the growth, quality, expansion, and image of USC Upstate as a vital part of the USC System.”

Lister said he was only recently informed of the honor by Young.

“Tommy Young called me and told me the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education had agreed to name the intersection after me and I was completely floored,” Lister said. “I had a tear in my eye. No one has ever honored me in such a significant manner.”

Interchange construction was part of a massive, three-year $60 million South Carolina Department of Transportation road-infrastructure project that was funded through the state Infrastructure Bank. Before the construction of the interchange, thousands of motorists relied on an antiquated farm underpass for daily access to the USC Upstate campus. The interchange replaced that potentially dangerous bottleneck with a highly visible entrance that, along with other infrastructure changes, improved both campus access and traffic flow. The interchange was completed in 2007.

“USC Upstate was not here when I graduated from Boiling Springs High School, but I consider this my campus and that is why it is so important to me,” Lister said. “The location itself has not escaped my attention. It is a gateway for students to earn degrees, but when leaving the campus, the intersection is the gateway to the world.”

“This is true especially for our first-generation college students,” he added. “Upon their graduation, the intersection is truly a gateway to the world, their families and their livelihood.”

Lister has an extensive history of service to the Upstate, to South Carolina and to the nation. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1974-79, and was also a captain in the Naval Reserve. During his tenure on the USC Board of Trustees, he has chaired the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, the Health Affairs Committee, and the Building and Grounds Committee. He has also served several terms on the board’s Executive Committee.

“Toney Lister has been closely involved in the development of USC Upstate for much of the last 25 years,” said, Young, chair of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education. “He’s worked tirelessly to ensure that Upstate residents have a local public university that provides a quality education with real value. This recognition is long overdue, and it’s appropriate that this honor will link Toney Lister publicly to the University.”