USC Upstate Plans For May Commencement, Former Mayor Bill Barnet To Deliver Address

April 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

Eight hundred students will receive their diplomas when the University of South Carolina Upstate holds its May Commencement on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. on the Quad behind the Administration Building.

“The University of South Carolina Upstate continues to produce top-quality graduates each year, of which nearly 85 percent choose to remain in the Upstate to build their lives and careers,” said Dr. John C. Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate.

William “Bill” Barnet III will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in public service. Barnet currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Barnet Company and Barnet Development Company. He recently completed two terms (2002-2010) as Mayor of the City of Spartanburg. Prior to serving as Mayor, Barnet was President and CEO of William Barnet & Son, a company founded by his great grandfather in 1898. Barnet became the fourth generation in his family to lead William Barnet & Son, a global textile company dedicated to embracing new technologies in order to keep pace with an ever-changing industry, in 1976. He continued in this position until 2001 when he sold the company to a management team.

Barnet serves of the board of Duke Energy. His current civic board involvement includes Palmetto Business Forum, ETV Communications Endowment, Palmetto Institute, and The Duke Endowment. He has also served on a variety of local and state boards. Barnet is the former chairman of the Converse College Board of Trustees, past trustee of the Spartanburg County Foundation, past chairman of Leadership Spartanburg, and past president of the S.C. Textile Manufacturers Association. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth in 1964 and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth in 1965. He also completed a two-year stint as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Adjutant General’s Corps.

In addition to presenting Bill Barnet with an honorary doctorate, USC Upstate will also present Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, with an honorary doctorate in human letters. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the largest and most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States, improves lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.  It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind.

Prior to taking his current position in 1986, Maurer was in private practice in Baltimore, Maryland, specializing in civil litigation and property matters. Maurer is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyers in the country regarding the laws, precedents, and administrative rulings concerning civil rights and discrimination against the blind. He is a member of the bar in Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and Maryland and a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Maurer graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1974.  He received his doctor of jurisprudence degree in 1977 from the University of Indiana School of Law.

The University of South Carolina Upstate, a coeducational, public, comprehensive metropolitan institution, is located conveniently along the thriving economic I-85 corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte. It has a current student enrollment of 5,500 and an alumni base of 17,000. As a senior comprehensive public institution of the University of South Carolina, the University’s primary responsibilities are to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina and to offer selected master’s degrees in response to regional demand. USC Upstate is comprised on three campuses: the main 330-acre campus in Spartanburg, a Greenville campus at the University Center of Greenville for commuting junior and senior level students, and the new George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg.

For more information regarding the May Commencement, please contact Frances Krydynski at (864) 503-5221 or visit