2008 COSAM Distinguished Alumnus
Jane Upshaw, mathematics '69, was the first woman selected to head a University of South Carolina campus when she was named as Campus Dean for the University of South Carolina Beaufort in 1999. From 2000 to 2002, she led the effort for USCB to change its role and mission from a regional campus to a separately accredited baccalaureate institution of the USC system. Subsequently, she was, again, the first woman named to lead the senior campus when she was named chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort in 2002. Under her leadership, USC Beaufort has become a four-year-degree-granting institution, has implemented 26 baccalaureate degree opportunities, built on-campus student living, and is underway with an athletics program of nine intercollegiate sports teams which has led to the university's affiliation with the NAIA and Sun Conference. USC Beaufort is the most rapidly growing institution in the South Carolina system with an enrollment increase of 146-percent increase since 2002.
Upshaw is a Fairfax, Ala., native and holds both undergraduate and master's degrees from Auburn. Following her studies at Auburn, she spent five years in private industry in Atlanta, Ga., as a consulting engineer, senior applications engineer and senior economic analyst. In 1981, Upshaw moved to Hilton Head, S.C. and returned to academia as a senior mathematics teacher at May River Academy, followed by an appointment of adjunct professor at the USC Beaufort. In 1986, she was selected to be an assistant professor at USCB. In 1993, Upshaw earned her doctorate in mathematics education from the University of South Carolina. In 1996, she became USCB's first director of development charged with implementing a program of fund-raising and giving.
As chancellor of USC Beaufort, Upshaw has led unprecedented growth and institutional development, in addition to extending the university's connection to the surrounding areas with partnerships with local agencies and school districts. Upshaw oversees the university's original Historic Beaufort campus located in downtown Beaufort and helped establish overwhelming community support and funding for a new $50 million, 200-acre site, of which 91 percent of the funds to build the campus were community based. The new campus is now called the USC Beaufort Hilton Head Gateway, which is now home to on-campus student housing and a newly outfitted nursing facility.
Upshaw is involved with a wide range of community and civic organizations, specifically in South Carolina's coastal areas. The Charleston region selected her as the Girl Scouts of America-Woman of Distinction. In 2009, she received from the South Carolina Women in Higher Education Association the Martha Piper Award, named for the first female leader of a higher education institution in South Carolina. The Jasper County Chamber of Commerce presented her with the Business Education Partner of the Year in 2009. She is a past president of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry receiving the Bill Bligen Champion of Literacy Award in 2005 and a past chair of the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. She continues to serve on the Chamber Governing Board. She also sits on the boards of the Coastal Carolina Hospital, Community Vision of Hilton Head, and the National Bank of South Carolina. She is the vice chair of the Lowcountry Economic Alliance board.
Upshaw has been a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Schools since 2004 and served as the chair of the Women Presidents Group from 2005 to 2007. She was appointed to the AASCU Professional Development Committee and currently serves on the Economic Development Committee of AASCU. She also served on the Auburn University Alumni Association Board from 2004 to 2007. The Zonta Club of Hilton Head Island, a leadership group of professional women, named her the 2007 Woman of the Year. As a professor of mathematics, she continues dedication to effective mathematics education as a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Upshaw and her husband, Tom, have three children, two of whom are Auburn alumni, and three grandchildren.
Last Updated: 06/24/2016