USC Upstate Announces New Chancellor

November 22, 2016 at 10:15 am

chancellorbrendankelly2016-027The University of South Carolina Upstate announced Tuesday (Nov. 22) that Brendan Kelly, Ph.D., vice president for university advancement at University of West Florida, is selected to lead the University of South Carolina Upstate. His appointment becomes effective on March 1, 2017.

“Dr. Kelly is an accomplished scholar and academic leader and I am confident that he is the right person to lead us into the next era at USC Upstate,” said University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the University of South Carolina Upstate as its next chancellor,” said Kelly who was on the Spartanburg campus for the announcement. “The university is poised to enhance its contribution to the higher education landscape of the USC system and the state of South Carolina. I am grateful to be part of the next chapter of growth and development at USC Upstate.”

Kelly will become the sixth chancellor in the university’s nearly 50-year history, which has a student enrollment of 6,000 and nearly 26,000 alumni.

Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., a Carolina Distinguished Professor of Psychology and the vice president of system planning for USC, has served as interim chancellor since July and looks forward to a successful transition.

“Brendan Kelly brings exceptional experience that will be a perfect fit for USC Upstate. Much work has been accomplished over the past five years and Brendan will have a great foundation to build upon and tremendous talent to work with—there is an innovative strength and a collaborative spirit waiting to be tapped on our campus,” said Fitzpatrick.

According to Fitzpatrick, Kelly has been credit for leading UWF’s 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign and raising in excess of $48 million toward the $50 million goal. His skills and experience will be paramount in helping USC Upstate celebrate its 50th anniversary, which kicks off in February 2017.

In his role at UWF, Kelly leads and manages the Division of University Advancement, which includes the units of University Marketing & Communications, Alumni Relations, Development, Community Engagement, University of West Florida Historic Trust and WUWF Public Media (NPR, serving the Gulf Coast from the UWF campus for 35 years). He also serves as president of the UWF Foundation, Inc. and as chief executive officer of the UWF Historic Trust, which is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the history of Northwest Florida.

Prior to joining the Division of Advancement, Kelly was the director of the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UWF. He joined the UWF faculty in 2004, serving as director of the nationally recognized UWF speech and debate program. Specializing in speech communication training, Kelly has taught courses in political communication, speech communication, communication ethics and various areas related to strategic communication.

Since arriving at UWF, Kelly has been recognized through multiple honors, including the UWF Distinguished Teaching Award; induction into the National Forensic Association Hall of Fame; National Forensic Association Eddie Myers Distinguished Service Award; Eastern Michigan University Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; induction into the Eastern Michigan University Forensics Hall of Fame; UWF Faculty Excellence award in Student Affairs; and he was recognized by the US Department of Defense as a Patriotic Employer.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University, and a doctorate in rhetoric and political communication from Wayne State University in Detroit.

USC Upstate is of great importance to the state of South Carolina with its special metropolitan mission to serve the Upstate region. For more than a decade, USC Upstate has been ranked as one of the best institutions in the Southeastern United States.

“USC Upstate, which produces approximately 1,500 graduates each year, is of great importance to the Upstate region and to the state of South Carolina,” said Tommy Young, chairman of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education. “Brendan Kelly is a highly respected leader in higher education and I look forward to the leadership he will bring to USC Upstate.”

For more information, contact Tammy Whaley at (864) 503-5210 or