Upstate Chancellor Brendan Kelly was surprisingly named interim President at University of South Carolina in Columbia in April. The USC Board of Trustees awarded Kelly a year position with a hefty salary increase to help USC through the transition from the retirement of President Harris Pastides and a renewed search process.
Kelly got caught up in USC politics when Gov, Henry McMaster forced a vote by the Board of Trustees in an attempt to confirm General Robert L. Caslen as president. The board approved Caslen, a U.S Military Academy at West Point Superintendent, 11-8.
That meant Kelly returned to Upstate as chancellor to continue his mission with continuing to build the college’s master plan.
This decision came after it was announced that the search for a new president would begin when a protest by students, faculty and staff rejected the previous four finalists, which included Caslen.
Kelly’s term was scheduled to be Aug. 1. Despite this, the Chancellor was all smiles as he sat in his office for an interview with The Carolinian.
Kelly became Chancellor of USC Upstate in 2016 and quickly began working to make Upstate one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. “We have so many things that we have been working toward at USC Upstate, and this year is a year where we’re implementing many of those. To be able to be a part of the community while that’s occurring is special,” Kelly said.
Kelly said that in his time in Columbia he learned “a ton” and he would bring “a ton” of that over. “Having the opportunity to serve as interim President, I had a study abroad experience and I come back more equipped to navigate this university as Chancellor, to provide opportunities that we might not have gone after as quickly.”
Kelly said that his time in Columbia allowed him to “keenly understand what this university is and is trying to become.”
USC Upstate is one of the fastest growing universities, not only in South Carolina, but in the nation, and it doesn’t look as if it will stop growing anytime soon. As the upstate community grows, Kelly said he is looking into how best to accommodate it. This includes expanding programing and adding new colleges, faculty, and courses.
This growth includes the new students at Upstate, both freshmen and transfers. “I hope you are excited to be at USC Upstate, because we are excited for you to be here.,” Kelly said.
“And for those of you who are upperclassmen, you know this to be true, while college is a transformative experience, socially and personally, it is also one that the first day you get here, you have to start developing professionally,” Kelly said. “You have to start assuming the stance of the person you are trying to become, rather than waiting for somebody else to give you that.”