Board of Trustees selects interim president

USC Upstate Chancellor Brendan Kelly takes top post Aug. 1

After interviewing the four presidential candidates recommended by the Presidential Candidate Search Committee, the Board of Trustees voted Friday (April 26) to continue the search for the 29th president. Effective Aug. 1, Brendan Kelly, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, will assume the position of interim president.

"While this invitation came as a surprise to me, it is my honor and privilege to serve the University of South Carolina," Kelly said. "I am looking forward to working with the board and my colleagues in the coming weeks as we work together to make this transition."

Since becoming chancellor of USC Upstate in March 2017, Kelly has articulated an ambitious vision for the university aimed at creating transformative opportunities for students and the communities of South Carolina’s Upstate region and beyond. Kelly and his leadership team have positioned Upstate as a top public, regional comprehensive university in the Southeast — one that is focused on maximizing the institution’s ability to educate students, is deeply connected to industry, and is purposefully involved in the community. The university is highly ranked for excellence in performance by U.S. News & World Report, at No. 2 among Top Public Regional Universities in the South.

Prior to joining USC Upstate, Kelly served the University of West Florida, where he led and managed the Division of University Advancement, directed the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and chaired the Department of Communication Arts. He joined the UWF faculty in 2004, serving as director of the nationally recognized UWF speech and debate program. Specializing in speech communication training, Kelly has taught courses in political communication, speech communication, communication ethics and various areas related to strategic communication.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University, and a doctorate in rhetoric and political communication from Wayne State University in Detroit.

He and his wife, Dr. Tressa Kelly, have three children: Bree, Liam and Kieran.


I am looking forward to working with the board and my colleagues in the coming weeks as we work together to make this transition.

Chancellor Brendan Kelly

Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about