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University of South Carolina Upstate

Brief Description:

USC Upstate Anniversary

The University of South Carolina Upstate was founded in 1967, primarily to avert a serious health care problem when Spartanburg General Hospital announced it was phasing out its diploma program for registered nurses. The Spartanburg Regional Campus, as it was first known, opened its doors in the fall of 1967 to 177 students. Today's campus boasts 6,000 students, more than 40 majors and concentrations, a 330-acre residential campus with facilities in downtown Spartanburg and in Greenville, and an alumni base of more than 26,100—with the majority of these graduates remaining in the Upstate to build their lives and careers.


Mission Statement:

USC Upstate 50th logoUniversity of South Carolina (USC) Upstate aims to become one of the southeast’s leading “metropolitan” universities—a university that acknowledges, as its fundamental reason for being, its relationship to expanding populations along the I-85 corridor. The university aims to be recognized nationally among its peer metropolitan institutions for its excellence in education and commitment to its students, for its involvement in the Upstate, and for the clarity and integrity of its metropolitan mission. As a senior public institution of the University of South Carolina with a comprehensive residential campus in Spartanburg, and commuting and degree completion operations at the University Center Greenville, the university’s primary responsibilities are to offer baccalaureate education to the citizens of the Upstate of South Carolina and to offer selected master’s degrees in response to regional demand. USC Upstate strives to prepare its students to participate as responsible citizens in a diverse, global and knowledge-based society, to pursue excellence in their chosen careers and to continue learning throughout life. Curricula and services are designed for the university’s students—4,000 to 7,000 in headcount—who are diverse in background, age, race, ethnicity, educational experience and academic goals. Students are drawn in large proportion from the Upstate, where many choose to remain for their careers. A broad range of major curricula are provided in arts and sciences, and in professional fields of study required by the regional economy, including business, education and nursing. Through on-site instruction, distance learning, continuing education and inter-institutional articulation agreements, both traditional students and working professionals are served across the region. Consistent with the international character of the Upstate, the university promotes global perspectives across its programs. Supporting the regional employment objectives of most of its students, it provides extensive experiential learning opportunities. The university’s metropolitan mission rests upon a foundation of partnerships with the education and corporate and service organizations of the Upstate. The faculty provides leadership in promoting the Upstate’s economic, social and cultural development. This is achieved through its teaching, professional and public service, basic and applied scholarship and research, and creative endeavors.

President's Quote:

“It is the University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate's dedication to serving the educational needs of the Upstate region that has allowed it to thrive and far exceed any expectations from when it was founded just 50 years ago. Situated in one of the fastest growing regions of our state, USC Upstate is committed to fulfilling regional and state workforce needs, and thus, the university is a major engine of social and economic development. The success and continued growth of USC Upstate is vital, not only to the region, but to the entire state.” – Interim Chancellor Mary Anne Fitzpatrick

Major Accomplishments:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Upstate as the "#2 Top Public Regional Colleges in the South" and "#3 Lowest Student Debt Upon Graduation in Southern Region."

  • USC Upstate opened the Child Protection Training Center in October 2015 with a goal of ending child abuse through advocacy and education, but it has grown to be so much more. The training center offers a rare opportunity for multidisciplinary team members to hone their skills by following real- world scenarios from intake to prosecution. Comprised of both a mock house and a mock courtroom, the center presents its participants with hands-on opportunities to improve their skills in detection, reporting and responding. Training provided by similar centers have proven to improve competence and confidence levels of participants, which leads to improved prevention, investigations and prosecutions, as well as lower employee turnover.

  • The Mary Black School of Nursing provides some of the most technologically advanced facilities anywhere, including a cutting-edge simulation center.

  • Signed a special agreement with the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames, London, UK, that affords Upstate students the opportunity to intern at the Rose Theatre. Eight University of South Carolina Upstate theater students and two theater technicians have been invited to participate in the International Youth Arts Festival.

  • USC Upstate is committed to fulfilling regional and state workforce needs by working to establish new programs that will help the region to prosper, because these programs will prepare graduates to take leadership roles in companies and in their communities. From courses taught at the university’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, more than 15 new businesses have been created and have contributed more than $60 million back to the Upstate’s economy.

  • Division I Athletics: 17 sports compete in the Atlantic Sun Division

  • USC Upstate partnered with the Peace Corps to launch the state’s first Peace Corps Prep program to equip students to become successful candidates for Peace Corps service.


Fun Facts:

  • Enrollment for fall 2016: 6,000 students from 29 states and 14 nations
  • Mascot: Spartans
  • Team colors: Green and black
  • Six faculty awarded the Fulbright Scholarship in the past 11 years
  • USC Upstate was one of 20 colleges in the nation to be highlighted for unusually high levels of political and civic engagement by Civic Nation and the Beeck Center of Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) during the Civic Initiative Kickoff hosted by the White House.
  • In 2015, USC Upstate students volunteered 55,050 hours in the community.
  • 25,000 alumni: 85 percent of them remain in the Upstate to live and work
  • Designated "Tree Campus USA" for sixth year in a row
  • USC Upstate is a member of the "College Town" consortium. Spartanburg has the highest per capita college student population of any major city in South Carolina. With its seven diverse institutions of higher education, Spartanburg is South Carolina's “College Town.”


Notable Alumni:

Dr. Wayne Holden '79 – President and CEO of RTI International, one of the world’s leading research institutes

Dr. Daniel Dreisbach '81 – Rhodes Scholar, professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C.

Michael Gibson '82 – A 1982 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship team member, and played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets and Phoenix Suns

Edward H. Overstreet 91 – Invented the Bionic Ear, a surgical implant installed below the skin in the back of the head 

Rory Scovel '03 – Plays the character “Harvard” on the TBS Comedy Ground Floor and frequently appears on late night comedy shows. Scovel was a member of the Upstate soccer team, which won two Peach Belt Conference championships in 2001 and 2002, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2002.

Shannon Hudson '03 – Co-founder and CEO of 9Round, which is currently running the world’s largest and fastest-growing kickboxing gym franchise



"To be a Spartan, I think of it as being part of a family. It’s been fun, and I feel more connected not only to the other athletes on my team, on the other sports teams on campus, but to the student body as well and to the faculty."  Griffin Eubanks, Class of 2017

"As an international student, I never imagined having so many excellent opportunities at USC Upstate. In Tanzania, I would not have access to professors who were there to help me find my way."  Mufaddal Fidahussein, Class of 2016

"I had a marvelous experience here as a nursing student, and this place absolutely changed my life."  Susan Jacobs, Class of 1980


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662