Stockwell Receives Prestigious Milliken Medal of Quality Award

November 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm


Spartanburg, S.C. – Dr. John C. Stockwell, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, recently received the prestigious Milliken Medal of Quality Award that recognizes South Carolina residents or former residents of vision who have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and outstanding achievement in the implementation of quality systems in their organizations and who has been an inspiration for others to follow in South Carolina. The first medal went to its namesake, Roger Milliken, President and Chief Executive Officer of Milliken & Company.

To be eligible to receive the Milliken Medal of Quality Award, individuals should demonstrate leadership and vision to move teams and the organizational culture toward world class standards that are customer focused and supported by quality systems that empower and equip teams and individuals. Nominees must be widely recognized as a champion of the quality principles, serve as a benchmark for others, impact the change of culture for continuous improvement, ensure the continuity of the quality management principles in their organization through systems and communications. He or she should promote the spirit of cooperation through common goals and synergy. Nominees must be recognized as a quality achiever who conducts business with honesty and integrity and be a supporter of quality principles and initiatives in the community.

John S. Poole, President and CEO of Carolina Alliance Bank and member of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education, was supportive of Stockwell receiving the award. “During his leadership of the University, he has earned tremendous respect from University and community leaders because he is not only a visionary but also an individual who is trusted and delivers on his promises. The quality of the faculty and staff at the university has improved during Stockwell’s tenure and with limited resources, honesty and integrity have played a major role in recruiting this key talent for the University’s future. I can certainly say that without question, the Spartanburg community leadership believes in Dr. Stockwell and knows that because of his integrity, he will deliver on his promises to our community.”

Stockwell has served as chancellor of USC Upstate since 1994, leading the University toward its vision as one of the leading metropolitan universities in the Southeast and acknowledging its fundamental reason for being its relationship to expanding populations along the I-85 corridor. Under his leadership, USC Upstate has experienced outstanding growth in academic reputation, capital development and public/private partnerships.  Enrollments have doubled to nearly 5,500 students, and include a diverse student population with 60 nations represented in the campus community and a minority enrollment of more than 30 percent. And, USC Upstate has the second highest rate of South Carolina residents enrolled among the state’s 10 comprehensive universities.

He is heralded for the implementation of a 10-year, $184 million master plan that has dramatically increased classroom space, academic support facilities, parking and roadways, housing, and athletic/recreational facilities. Additionally, Stockwell collaborated with the Spartanburg community to build the world-class George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg that is now home to the nearly 850 business majors enrolled at the University.

Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Cordeau said every community has a few special people who lead the way, inspire next-level thinking and raise the bar on community goals. “John Stockwell goes even beyond the few. His ability to be listened-to, followed and respected crosses the boundaries between academic, business, social and civic institutions.”

Cordeau, like other local business leaders, applaud Stockwell’s efforts for seeking to engage the Spartanburg community several years ago to raise the percentage of college graduates. Stockwell stepped forward to design, develop and implement the 40/30 Challenge, which would achieve 40% of the adult population holding bachelor’s degrees by 2030 in order to raise per capita income and grow the county’s economic development potential. The College Hub of Spartanburg County was formed from this effort and now resides with the Spartanburg County Foundation.

“This plan has been called the most important education initiative in South Carolina by experts,” said Cordeau.

Before coming to USC Upstate, Stockwell served as provost and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside; dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York-Cortland; chair of the Department of Speech and Theatre at Indiana State University; and director of theatre at California State University Northridge. Stockwell earned his Ph.D. and master’s degrees in theatre at Bowling Green State University, and his bachelor’s degree from Cedarville College.  He is also an alumnus of the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management.

He is the founding chair of Spartanburg’s chapter of the Urban League of the Upstate.  He serves on the Board of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and chaired the Chamber Board in 2009.  He serves also on the boards of the Arts Partnership, the Community Indicators, College Hub of Spartanburg County, and others.