University of South Carolina Beaufort Chancellor Jane Upshaw, the first woman named to head a senior USC campus, announced her retirement Friday evening.
That retirement will begin in August 2015, she said.
"I have lived more than 30 years affiliated with this institution in one way or another. ... And it has been my greatest honor," the chancellor of 12 years said.
Upshaw said she is ready to join her husband in retirement. Tom Upshaw retired as the CEO of Palmetto Electric Cooperative in June after being with the utility for more than 30 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.
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The couple had originally planned to retire at the same time, but Jane Upshaw said there were several initiatives she wanted to see through, such as the completion of a new recreational center on campus and the addition of fraternities and sororities.
"Those things are not what I have accomplished, but what this school has accomplished," Upshaw said. "The growth we have seen is testament to the hard work and vision this region has invested in the university, and a testament to the return on investment USCB has given the region."
When Upshaw joined USCB in 1981, she was an adjunct professor in mathematics. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Auburn University.
She became a full-time professor in 1986, the director of development in 1996, and dean of the Beaufort campus in 1999.
In 2002, Upshaw was promoted to chancellor, becoming the first woman to head a senior campus of the University of South Carolina.
Since then, she has seen the college grow into a university offering four-year baccalaureate degrees, the accomplishment she is most proud of, she said. She also oversaw the opening of the Hilton Head Gateway campus off U.S. 278 and the addition of sports to the school, including the unveiling of the Sand Shark mascot.
"I will miss the excitement of beginning a school year, the excitement of seeing and interacting with students every day, the great collegiate events and the structure and challenge of my position," she said. "But I think I will learn to enjoy the lack of structure and being able to be more spontaneous."
Before her retirement, Upshaw hopes to continue growing the college's degree options and strengthening its collaboration with the Town of Hilton Head Island to open a hospitality campus on the island.
USC president Harris Pastides will soon appoint a committee to begin the search for her successor, Upshaw said.
She plans to stay involved in the community and stay busy. She hopes to participate in causes she hasn't previously had time for, and to travel as well.
"I know USCB will carry on in every sense and in a very strong way, as it has been," she said. "I will always be a Sand Shark."
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- Move-in day at USCB grows by leaps, bounds, August 17, 2014
- USCB to bring Greek life to campus in spring, September 5, 2014
- Tom Upshaw wins state award; scholarship at USCB created in his name, June 18, 2014
- Palmetto Electric CEO to retire in June, May 7, 2014
- USCB offers students experience not possible just 10 years ago, October 4, 2013
- USCB adds health-promotion program degree for fall, May 17, 2014
- USCB to build new Sand Shark recreation center in Bluffton, November 7, 2013