USC Upstate Honors Toney J. Lister With G.B. Hodge Lifetime Achievement Award

September 26, 2023 at 11:30 am

Portrait Unveiled In Recognition of Lister’s Lifetime Achievement

The University of South Carolina Upstate has honored Toney J. Lister with the G.B. Hodge, M.D., Lifetime Achievement Award. This award includes a portrait by artist Jerry Crowley that was unveiled during a ceremony in the John C. Stockwell Administration Building lobby on Wednesday, Sept. 20, before a room filled with dozens of Lister’s family members, friends, colleagues, and other leaders.

The portrait of Lister, a prominent local attorney and champion of USC Upstate, will be displayed on campus, inspiring future generations to reach even greater heights in their pursuit of knowledge and service to the community.

“Toney, your leadership to USC Upstate compares to none,” USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D., said in a statement. “It was Maya Angelou who said ‘people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.’ You make me feel like I can accomplish anything. Congratulations. This is an amazing honor.”

“Toney Lister has been a staunch friend and supporter of our university over his many years of service,” said USC Upstate First Lady Frankie Harris. “As a member of the USC Board of Trustees, he advocated for USC Upstate’s growth and promoted the university as a vital contributor to the USC system. Toney has always understood the importance of having a vibrant regional comprehensive university in the Upstate. He has supported USC Upstate’s goals to provide affordable, accessible education for all and to improve educational achievement in our region. We can truly say that Toney has helped us reach greater heights as an institution.”

Lister, who is originally of Boiling Springs, has an extensive history of service to the Upstate, to South Carolina, and to the nation. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1974-79 and was also a captain in the Naval Reserve. During his tenure on the USC Board of Trustees from 1994-2022, he chaired the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, the Health Affairs Committee, and the Building and Grounds Committee. He also served several terms on the board’s Executive Committee.

David Eubanks, a retired educator and member of the Spartanburg County Commission for Higher Education (SCCHE), lauded Lister’s remarkable contributions to the Spartanburg community, describing him as “one of the most deserving people” for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Eubanks emphasized the significance of this accolade, noting that it has been granted only five times in the nearly 57-year history of USC Upstate. He said, “It really doesn’t make any difference what position Toney held. Whether it be on the board, a naval officer, or in the State Legislature, Toney has a quality that would make him successful at anything. And that is development of relationships with people; the ability to communicate with people who may not think the same as you do and yet you talk to each other. You make decisions.”

In 2017, USC Upstate and members of the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation honored Lister by naming the Interstate-585/East Campus Boulevard interchange after him.

Anne Flynn, vice chairman of the SCCHE, praised Lister’s impact on USC Upstate’s growth and success.

“Toney, you have accomplished every endeavor you have undertaken, and you have done it in such an outstanding way. And we thank you. We hope you feel that from us today,” Flynn said.

Overwhelmed by the honor, Lister humbly said, “This is the second time I’ve been honored by USC Upstate. I didn’t know what to say the first time, and I sure don’t know what to say this time except I’m in awe, I’m in shock. I think the only appropriate thing to say is thank you. As I look around these walls and halls and I see these portraits of those who have come before me, people who I know and knew, it’s certainly a pleasure and a privilege to know that I will be joining these great folks.”