USC Upstate Receives $6 Million Gift From George Dean Johnson, Jr. Family

Today the University of South Carolina Upstate broke new ground, both literally and figuratively. A Ground Breaking ceremony was held for the new $30 million George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, which will be located in the heart of the City of Spartanburg at160 East Saint John St.

The University also announced a $6 million gift from the George Dean Johnson, Jr. family for this facility, by far the largest donation ever received in the 40-year history of USC Upstate.

“This is indeed a historic day for the University of South Carolina Upstate,” said Dr. John C. Stockwell, the university’s chancellor. “This downtown facility will play a vital role in assisting in the economic development of the City and the region. Our students will be connected with the business world in a way that location on the campus cannot accomplish.”
As for the $6 million gift that Johnson, his wife Susu, and children Geordy and Susanna, contributed toward the project, Stockwell said, “The Johnson family have made this project possible with their vision, commitment and generosity. We are extremely grateful to them for this extraordinary leadership gift.”

Stockwell presented the inaugural Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Gold Dome Award to the Johnsons for their sincere loyalty and commitment to USC Upstate and its future at the ceremony.

This is the first building in Spartanburg that bears the name of Johnson, a Spartanburg native and chairman of Johnson Development Associates, Inc.

The three-story, 60,000-square-foot building will be located adjacent to the Chapman Cultural Center. David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc. is the design architect and McMillan Smith & Partners Architects will serve as the production architect. Linbeck has been hired as the construction manager for the project. With David Schwarz and Linbeck working on the same team that designed and built the Chapman Cultural Center, the two facilities will complement each other. The University anticipates that construction will be completed in May 2010.

Johnson has previously stated that Spartanburg’s future is closely tied to education in terms of setting the stage for economic development, the creation of entrepreneurs and for life-long learning.

“This is an investment in the University of South Carolina Upstate and in the Johnson College of Business and Economics but more importantly, it is an investment in the community,” he said. “It is an investment in Spartanburg - one that I hope will give people’s children and grandchildren a place to live, work and prosper.”
Both Johnson and Stockwell tout the role this downtown facility will play in assisting in the economic development of the City, the region and the State. Additionally they see the facility serving as a magnet for corporate investment, aiding in pre-start-up and incubation support of small business, and introducing thousands of business majors over the years to opportunities for investment in the City.

City Manager Mark Scott anxiously awaits the days when nearly 850 business students, plus faculty, come downtown to study, work and even live. “This is a boost to the entire Renaissance Park/Downtown plan, and we believe it will attract more development, more jobs and more downtown living. Very few cities can boast three great colleges in their city core.”

Mayor Bill Barnet added, “Locating the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown is exciting and shows the commitment the Spartanburg community has for future generations to come. Creating a vibrant and dynamic city center in order to keep our young people here is an essential step forward for this community.”

The City is providing the needed infrastructure for this project, which will include sidewalks, streets and landscaping. Additionally, the City will construct a new $15 million parking garage, which will feature 750-spaces with 250 parking spaces provided for USC Upstate.

The George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate currently enrolls nearly 850 majors and is the fastest growing unit in the University. It is fully accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business, one of 42 institutions worldwide with undergraduate only programs that are accredited. Few business schools in the nation with a predominantly undergraduate mission are accredited by this prestigious international association.

In addition to its major programs in business administration, finance, marketing, management, accounting and economics, the College will offer USC’s PMBA degree on-site.

“First priorities for the College are modern facilities with current technology, shared space for executive and continuing education opportunities, and a "Class A" office environment that welcomes and serves the business community,” said Dr. Darrell Parker, dean of the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate. “This new facility will relieve pressures on restricted space for teaching and learning through the creation of sufficient classrooms and offices for future growth. In addition, it will permit the development of specialized instructional space including dedicated computer labs with business software, a stock market trading room for finance classes, and classrooms with computers to permit students to individually run educational software during class. It will also support executive education and other academic outreach activities, enabling expanded services for small businesses and connecting business leaders with the University and its students.”

Founded in 1967, the University of South Carolina Upstate has spent the last 40 years developing its mission as one of the Southeast’s leading metropolitan universities. In addition to building acclaimed and accredited academic programs, the University has recruited a faculty with excellent credentials and experience and a student population of great potential and diversity. USC Upstate is home to 5,000 students from 38 states and 71 nations. More than 17,000 students have earned their degrees with 85% of graduates remaining in the Upstate to build their lives and careers.

For more information, contact Dr. Darrell Parker at (864) 503-5581 or visit

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