Upstate braves rain to celebrate Chancellor Kelly’s investiture

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By Lucy McElroy

Superstition and rain clouds couldn’t stop the University of South Carolina Upstate family from honoring Dr. Brendan Kelly as the fourth chancellor at his investiture ceremony Friday morning.

“While Friday the 13th occurs twice a year, Chancellor Kelly’s Investiture is a once in a lifetime event,” Dr. Holly Pae, Professor of Special Education and Faculty Senate Chair, announced to a crowd bearing umbrellas and raincoats. “Contrary to superstition, today is our lucky day.”

The ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. with “Pomp and Circumstance” billowing across the dewy lawn, welcoming University faculty, representatives, trustees, and deans enrobed in academic regalia. Tia Greene, President of the Student Government Association, smiled as she carried the University mace.

University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides and Chancellor Kelly entered the stage before the Southern Guards ROTC Battalion’s “Posting of Colors”.

Commercial Music student, Mary Emma Norris delighted attendees with the National Anthem. The crowd stood with hands over their hearts, singing along while grey skies loomed above.

“Welcome, everyone, on this beautiful day,” Pastides said, chuckling. The dome on top of the John C. Stockwell Administration Building glowed golden.

Pastides joked about the Irish names announced – those of Chancellor Kelly’s children, Bree, Liam and Kiernan, saying that Upstate’s characteristic green drew the Kellys to the University.

“Perhaps for one day – just today – we’ll call it ‘Kelly Green.’” Pastides praised Kelly for his “vigor and ambition,” and his dedication to the community.

Many others, from both Upstate’s past and its present, stood in front of the crowd to commend the new chancellor.

“He’s literally a man of great stature,” USC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan said. Puns about Kelly’s height were a popular theme.

City of Spartanburg Mayor Junie White was part of the welcoming group and Upstate’s First Lady, Dr. Tressa Kelly delivered a heartfelt address about her husband’s drive and successes.

Pastides donned Kelly with the Chancellor’s Medallion and Norris closed the ceremony with the Alma Mater, “We Hail Thee, Carolina”.

“I know it’s grey right now, but I promise you there’s blue skies ahead,” Athletic Director, Julio Freire said.


Photos by Brandon Pack
Cierra Mills and Erika Hollis contributed to this report