Stockwell Announces Plans To Step Down From USC Upstate Leadership After 17 Years

December 7, 2010 at 10:45 am

Spartanburg, S.C. —
University of South Carolina Upstate Chancellor John C. Stockwell announced that he will step down in August 2011, following 17 years of leadership resulting in outstanding growth in the academic reputation, student enrollment, capital development and public/private partnerships of the University. 

Since Stockwell’s arrival at USC Upstate in 1994, enrollments have doubled to 5,500 students with a campus community representing 60 nations and a minority enrollment of 30 percent. And, USC Upstate has the second highest enrollment of South Carolina undergraduate students among the state’s 10 comprehensive universities.

“From a personal perspective, these have been 17 years of challenge and satisfaction.  The decision to move on has been most difficult, but I am persuaded now is the time,” said Stockwell. “Having spent more than 40 years in academic life,  I am looking forward to other opportunities and to more reading and writing, traveling, and quite frankly, exploring the next phase of my personal and professional life.”

Perhaps best known for defining the University’s “metropolitan mission,” Stockwell has emphasized the University’s increasing academic competitiveness and its partnerships with enterprises across the metro corridor. The University has developed a vigorous international character, sending students and faculty abroad and attracting international students to the campus.  As a product of a strategic pursuit of its mission, USC Upstate has grown from a small commuter institution to a robust, residential Division I university with strong regional connections and an international reach.

Stockwell is heralded for the implementation of a multi-year, $184 million master plan that has dramatically increased classroom space, academic support facilities, parking and streetscapes, housing, and athletic and recreational facilities. Additionally, Stockwell collaborated with private donors and the City of Spartanburg to create the world-class George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg, now home to the 850 business majors enrolled at the University. USC Upstate has also established a significant presence in Greenville, enrolling nearly 1,000 students each year through the University Center.

 “Dr. Stockwell’s accomplishments at USC Upstate and on behalf of its students have been of extraordinary proportion, by any standard of measurement,” said Jim Smith, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education. “Dr. Stockwell personally developed Upstate’s “metropolitan mission,” recognized nationally as a unique model of academic excellence. He enjoys an extraordinary record of accomplishment and has provided unparalleled leadership, supporting the students, our community and the Upstate. The image, reputation, and engagements of our University have been enhanced beyond measure across South Carolina and beyond.”

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.

Stockwell 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 chairs the Vision and Values Committee of “Ten at the Top,” and serves also on the boards of the Arts Partnership, the Community Indicators, and The College Hub of Spartanburg County.

Stockwell and his wife, Dr. Diane Vecchio, a professor of history at Furman University, have four grown children and two grandchildren.

We are happy for John and his family, but he certainly leaves a big pair of boots to be filled,” said Smith.

 Significant Achievements of Chancellor John Stockwell at USC Upstate

  • Distinguished USC Upstate as the Metropolitan University of South Carolina, acknowledging its fundamental reason for being its relationship to expanding populations along the I-85 corridor
  • Collaborated with the Spartanburg community to build the world-class George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown
  • Forged alliances across the Upstate to make USC Upstate a viable institution of higher education
  • Implementation of a 10 year, $184 million Master Plan at USC Upstate
    • Major capital improvements including new university housing, University Readiness Center, Louis P. Howell Athletic Complex, Health Education Complex, Susan Jacobs Arboretum, new north quadrangle, Upstate Rotary International Peace Park, numerous renovations including the Hodge Arena.
    • Secured $50 million in new highway infrastructure surrounding the campus
    • Athletic programs moved to NCAA Division I as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference
    • USC Upstate has the second highest rate of South Carolina residents enrolled among the state’s 10 comprehensive universities
    • Among the fastest growing universities in the state for the past dozen years
    • Largest Bachelor of Science of Nursing (BSN) program in South Carolina
    • Rigorous and sustained strategic planning process
    • Increased minority student population from 12% to 30%
    • International student and faculty growth, now representing over 70 countries
    • Highest student full-time equivalency (FTE) at graduation
    • Highest percent of incoming transfer students
    • Became the first public university in South Carolina to be named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation
    • Realized a 42% increase in grant funding
    • Leading the 40/30 Challenge to increase educational attainment in Spartanburg County


About University of South Carolina Upstate

Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina Upstate has spent the last 43 years developing its mission as one of the Southeast’s leading metropolitan universities. USC Upstate offers more than 40 bachelor’s degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing and teacher education, and master’s degrees in education.

 Today’s thriving 330-acre campus includes state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, an athletic complex, residential housing for 1,000, a minority enrollment exceeding 33 percent, and a Health Education Complex. USC Upstate has a Greenville campus for commuting junior and senior level students, which enrolls more than 1,000 students each year. And, the new George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg opened in May 2010.

The USC Upstate Spartans now compete on the NCAA Division I level as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Spartans field 17 varsity sports — basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, and track and field for both women and men; baseball for men; and softball and volleyball for women.

More than 18,000 students have earned their degrees from USC Upstate and are now representing the University as alumni. Nearly 85 percent of our alumni choose to remain in the Upstate to build their lives and careers, making a significant impact on the region’s economy and quality of life.

To learn more, visit