University of South Carolina trustees have chosen a new chancellor for the school’s Upstate campus in Spartanburg.
Trustees on Monday elected Dr. Brendan Kelly as the school’s sixth chancellor in its nearly 50-year history. Kelly, the vice president for university advancement at University of West Florida (UWF), was introduced by school leaders on Tuesday. He will become chancellor effective on March 1.
“The region is in a really wonderful position to allow its public university to continue to workforce development, development of communities in the Upstate area and certainly to provide some fairly unique opportunities for students,” Kelly told South Carolina Radio Network.
Kelly will replace interim Chancellor Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, USC vice president for system for system planning who had led the school since previous chancellor Thomas Moore retired in July. Fitzpatrick said Kelly’s experience helping UWF raise $48 million through a capital campaign was a factor in the decision to hire him.
“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,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
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.
He said growing the campus and helping with job training and other economic development efforts will be priorities upon taking the post, along with increasing the school’s visibility in the Upstate community and its resources for expansion.
“Given the size of the population and its service area, (USC Upstate) probably should be a little larger than it is,” Kelly said. “And it’s poised to be a more robust institution. So we’ll certainly look at growth.”
Kelly will also try to repair relations between the administration and school faculty, who soured on Chancellor Moore during his final two years, even giving him a vote of “no confidence” in March 2015 over what they called a lack of trust and lack of communication over budget cuts.