USC Upstate has annual $506 million impact study says

The University of South Carolina Upstate. Photo courtesy of Les Duggins.

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s economic prowess is growing.

A new study by USC’s Darla Moore School of Business in Columbia showed USC Upstate has a $506 million annual impact on the state’s economy, a 30 percent increase from $388.6 million in 2011, the year of the previous study.

Among the eight USC campuses in the state—Columbia, Upstate, Aiken, Beaufort, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, and Union—the Spartanburg-based institution had the second-highest economic impact in the state behind Columbia, the study said.

“One of the things that attracted me to [USC Upstate] was the geography,” said Brendan Kelly, chancellor of USC Upstate. “Being in the Upstate is an enormous advantage for us… Knowing we have tremendous opportunities for growth and economic impact on this region, and helping this region meet its educational needs is very exciting. We are positioned for growth.”

Brendan Kelly, chancellor of USC Upstate

Data showed USC Upstate’s total value added, or annual net contribution to the state’s economy, was $280.7 million in 2017, a more than 25 percent increase compared with about $223.8 million in 2011.

The university’s income, or contribution to wages and salaries, stood at $161.9 million per year, a nearly 33 percent increase compared with about $122 million six years ago.

Employment, the total number of jobs associated with the measured economic activities tied to USC Upstate, was 4,996 for 2017, which is a nearly 21 percent increase compared with 4,130 in 2011.

“We have a lot of private colleges in the region, and that’s fantastic,” Kelly said. “We are a state school. We are here to educate [the residents of South Carolina]. Our growth is intertwined with the growth of Spartanburg.”

By comparison, USC’s main campus in Columbia has a $4.16 billion impact on the state’s economy.

USC Aiken has a $281.3 million impact, USC Beaufort $83.7 million, USC Lancaster $75.5 million, USC Salkehatchie $48.6 million, USC Sumter $40.4 million, and USC Union $25.6 million, according to the study.

The total statewide impact of USC’s system was $5.5 billion of output, $3 billion in value added, $1.8 billion of income, and 60,250 in employment.

According to the study, USC has more than 50,000 students enrolled at its eight campuses and has more than 180,000 alumni who live within the state.

USC Upstate’s enrollment currently stands at about 6,000 students, said the university’s spokeswoman Tammy Whaley.

The university has more than 40 degree programs, including a new bachelor of science degree in advance manufacturing management, Whaley said.

It employs 922 people, including 563 full-time and 359 faculty and staff, she said.

Kelly said USC Upstate hopes to grow its number of degree programs. The university is currently collecting data in partnership with local industry to made sure its academic programs meet two criteria.

The first, Kelly said, is giving students the credentials they need to be successful in the Upstate. The other is to make sure there is a statewide need for graduates in a particular area of study.

“We’re already doing that across the board,” he said. “We have to meet the needs of industry. We have to add some programs that give our students and 30,000 alumni the chance to take the next step. We don’t have enough graduate programs… My hope is that we will raise the level of talent needs continually.”

USC Upstate celebrating 50th anniversary in October

USC Upstate will host a series of events in October to celebrate its 50th anniversary. A full list of the festivities is available online, but here are a few of the details:

-From 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9, there will be a party at RJ Rockers Brewing Co. in downtown Spartanburg. RJ Rockers will unveil a new beer honoring the university.

-A student event celebrating USC Upstate’s mascot Sparty’s birthday will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the university’s soccer stadium.

-A time capsule from 1969 will be opened during a ceremony from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the university’s John C. Stockwell Administration Building. The event is open to the public.

-At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, an investiture ceremony for Kelly will be held in USC Upstate’s main quad. Kelly was named the university’s fourth chancellor in 2016. A lunch will follow the ceremony. The event is open to faculty, staff, students, alumni, and invited guests.

-USC Upstate’s Gospel Choir will perform at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, at Cornerstone Baptist Church at 700 S. Converse St. in Spartanburg. The event is open to the public.

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