USC Upstate Capital Campaign Announces Major Gift To Establish Distinguished Lecture Series

June 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate, now in the early stages of a $50 million, five-year  capital campaign, announces its first major gift. Chris Crowley, a 2011 graduate, and his wife Garrow, have provided a significant gift which will be used to establish The Dr. John B. Edmunds, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series.

The lecture series will feature important scholars from around the world who will examine significant issues in history, political science, philosophy, American studies, or religion. The speaker will deliver a keynote address on campus, and the following day, will attend several classes and interact closely with students in the History, Political Science, Philosophy and American Studies Department. The series is named for the founding faculty member of USC Upstate’s History Department, first faculty member to be hired by the university when it opened, and first dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. John Edmunds.

“This is an exceptional, transformative gift to the department,” says Rob McCormick, associate professor of history and department chair. “The series will feature specialists of great international significance and will put students in touch with the most prominent scholars in the field. This gift, and this lecture series, will absolutely revolutionize the department.”

A Spartanburg native, Edmunds’ specialty is American history leading up to the Civil War, but over his 43 year teaching career he taught all facets of U.S. history and western civilization. During his four decades of teaching, he helped to build the department upon a solid foundation of academic scholarship.

“This means a lot for the department and the community,” says Edmunds. “These scholars will discuss their specialties with us and will give us some national exposure. I am excited, thrilled and wonderfully appreciative.”

“It is fitting that we honor the first professor of this great university,” says Chris Crowley. “John embodies the spirit of USC Upstate and his legacy has already enriched the lives of thousands of citizens.”

Current faculty within the department, which includes five academic disciplines, have published with the country’s most distinguished academic presses and won awards for teaching, advising, and scholarship. Alumni have pursued careers in many professions and attended some of the most prestigious  graduate programs in the United States.

USC Upstate’s $50 million capital campaign, Carolina’s Promise: Expanding Excellence in the Upstate, is part of a University of South Carolina system-wide fund raising campaign to raise $1 billion by 2015. The priorities of the USC Upstate campaign are student support through scholarships, faculty professorships, university/community programs, and capital improvements. More information is available online at, or by contacting Bea Walters Smith at or (864) 503-5235.