Ribbon Cutting and Building Dedication Planned for Johnson College

May 11, 2010 at 6:53 am

The University of South Carolina Upstate will host a ribbon cutting and building dedication for the newly-completed George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics on Thursday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m. at 160 East St. John Street in downtown Spartanburg. Self-guided tours will follow the program until 3:00 p.m.

The program will feature remarks from: Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate; Dr. James R. Smith, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education; The Honorable Junie White, mayor of the City of Spartanburg; Dr. Harris Pastides, president, University of South Carolina; Robert W. Harrell, Jr., speaker of the House, South Carolina House of Representatives; Miss Allison Berrian, president, USC Upstate Student Government Association; and Dr. Darrell Parker, dean of the Johnson College of Business and Economics.

The opening of the business school follows an 18 month construction period in which the 60,000 square foot, three-story building, and adjacent 750-space parking garage, were completed. Designed by David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc. the building is complementary in style and architecture to the Chapman Cultural Center next door.

The building features nine classrooms with state-of-the-art technology each accommodating 28-88 students, a stock trading room which will enable students to experience the excitement of the exchanges, seven conference and break out rooms, a three-story atrium, an outdoor plaza with benches for studying, 28 offices for faculty and staff, and three art galleries that will feature rotating exhibits from the Johnson Collection.

Great care was taken in construction to incorporate the theme of currency. Embedded in the terrazzo flooring on the first floor are the symbols for the pound, euro and yen, reflecting the importance of a global market. Colors utilized in the flooring and building signage also reflect the hues found in currency.  A stock ticker is placed at the entrance to the building to announce the importance of the markets. Carrying the theme of money to the ceiling, the center pane of the building’s skylight is green glass.

Future plans for the third floor, currently unfinished, call for it to be used to support start-up and incubation services for small businesses, and other academic outreach initiatives.

Classes will get underway in the new facility starting with the Summer II session, July 6, allowing ample time for faculty and staff to move into their new offices.

This new facility for the Johnson College of Business and Economics is as impressive as the resume of its namesake, who is regarded as an entrepreneurial legend. George Dean Johnson, Jr. is founder and chairman of Johnson Development Associates, Inc. which develops and manages retail space, industrial space, office space and apartments. He is a founder, former chief executive officer and a former director of Extended Stay America, Inc. He is a past president of the Domestic Consumer Division of Blockbuster Entertainment, a division of Viacom, Inc. He was formerly the managing general partner of WJB Video. Since 1985, Mr. Johnson has been the managing general partner of American Storage Limited Partnership. He is a founder and past member of the board of directors of Advance America, Cash Advance Centers, Inc. Mr. Johnson has more than 30 years of experience developing and managing various businesses. Prior to founding Johnson Development Associates, Inc., he practiced law with Johnson Smith Hibbard & Wildman. Mr. Johnson was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1969 and served through 1974. A native of Spartanburg, he has been married for 30 years to Susan Phifer. They have two children, a son, Geordy and a daughter, Susanna.

The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics provides and delivers an excellent business education to a diverse student population. The College is accredited by the AACSB—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a distinction shared with less than 10 percent of business schools worldwide with undergraduate business degree programs. Through the College’s five concentrations—accounting, economics/finance, general business administration, management and marketing—USC Upstate business graduates emerge with a deep understanding of today’s global market.

For further information, contact Darrell Parker, dean of the Johnson College of Business,  at (864) 503-5566 or dparker@uscupstate.edu.