A University of South Carolina Beaufort without chancellor Jane Upshaw just doesn't seem right, one student said.
She is the first and only chancellor the school has had, holding the position since 2002.
But starting next August, Upshaw will retire and USCB will have to carry on without her.
Although she will no longer be with the school, students and staff say they hope to see a little bit of Upshaw in her successor -- namely, her "risk-taking, no-limits" attitude that was so crucial in making the school what it is today.
"I know a lot of the students, especially the upperclassmen, are shocked and don't know how she could leave," USCB student government president Raechel Blakeney said. "But we want the future chancellor to be someone who is invested in the students and is always looking to grow us and the university."
After more than 30 years with the university, Upshaw announced her retirement in September. About a month later, USC Harris Pastides announced the 12-person committee who will begin the national search for Upshaw's successor.
They will convene for their first meeting Dec. 1.
Blakeney serves on the committee -- led by USCB department chair Charles Spirrison -- along with alumni, faculty and community leaders.
During that first meeting, the committee will begin creating the profile and discussing various characteristics and skills they would like to direct their search for the school's second chancellor, Spirrison said.
"Chancellor Upshaw definitely is a tough act to follow, but she is leaving us in a good place," he said. "But here at USCB we are unique and have grown a lot, so the next chancellor will have to take advantage of our unique position and close relationship with the community."
In her time as chancellor, Upshaw has seen the college grow into a university offering four-year baccalaureate degrees. 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.
Lynn McGee, vice chancellor for advancement and committee member, said the university needs someone who has a vision for where USCB could go and is willing to push the limits to get there.
"There is something exciting and beneficial of having that fresh eye of someone to assess our position as a blank slate and identify our strengths, weaknesses and different opportunities," McGee said. "I think we will continue moving forward in the same trajectory, but probably with a little different flavor."
But alumni and current staff member Abby Moonen said she hopes some things don't change too much, such as the inclusive community atmosphere at USCB.
"Seeing her both as a student and now staff, she knows everyone on campus and what is going on with them, which is what attracted many of us here," Moonen said. "At a bigger school we would just be a number, so I hope the new chancellor keeps USCB a family."
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.