Beaufort News

Tom Upshaw wins state award; scholarship at USCB created in his name

From left, Buddy W. Heirs, Tom Upshaw, USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw and Jeremiah E. Vaigneur pose after Tom Upshaw was honored with an endowed scholarship fund at USC Beaufort.
From left, Buddy W. Heirs, Tom Upshaw, USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw and Jeremiah E. Vaigneur pose after Tom Upshaw was honored with an endowed scholarship fund at USC Beaufort. Submitted photo

A new University of South Carolina Beaufort scholarship honoring retiring Palmetto Electric Cooperative president and CEO Tom Upshaw was announced Tuesday.

The $100,000 endowed scholarship recognizes his more than 30 years of company and community service. His retirement is effective June 30.

"I could not have anticipated anything finer as an honor than this," Upshaw said Wednesday. "The great thing about this scholarship is that the endowment will perpetuate for many years to come and help a lot of needy people."

On Tuesday, Gov. Nikki Haley also awarded Upshaw the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest citizen honor, according to the Governor's Office.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative provided $50,000 and the Palmetto Electric Trust supplied the other $50,000 for the G. Thomas Upshaw Endowed Scholarship Fund.

It will help military veterans living in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties attend USCB, according to university Chancellor Jane Upshaw, Tom Upshaw's wife.

Tom Upshaw served in the U.S. Navy before earning an industrial engineering degree from Southern Polytechnic Institute in 1972 and beginning his career at Palmetto Electric.

Students can apply for the scholarship next school year. It will be awarded for the first time in the fall of 2015. The amount of money it provides will vary, depending on the students' needs, Jane Upshaw said.

"Taking my chancellor hat off and putting my wife hat on, we are so grateful for such a wonderful remembrance of his leadership," she said. "This is a man who has believed in education all of his career, and he knows education opens doors to empower young people for the future."

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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