Dr. Brendan B. Kelly
Chancellor of University of South Carolina Upstate
Brendan B. Kelly, Ph.D. was appointed chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate on March 1, 2017.
During his first several months at the helm, Chancellor Kelly has clearly articulated his vision to position USC Upstate as a top regional comprehensive university in the southeast that is deeply connected to industry, deeply involved in the community, and constantly working to be better for the students and alumni of this institution. He has outlined three chief priorities for the institution: growth, visibility, and enhanced resources. In an effort to engage the community, he has initiated stakeholder-based strategic planning involving hundreds of community members in laying the groundwork for the blueprint of USC Upstate’s future.
Prior to coming to USC Upstate, Dr. Kelly was at the University of West Florida (UWF) where he led and managed the Division of University Advancement, which included the units of University Marketing and Communications, Alumni Relations, Development, Community Engagement, University of West Florida Historic Trust and WUWF Public Media. He also served as president of the UWF Foundation, Inc. where he was responsible for activities constituting effective and trustworthy stewardship of the UWF Foundation’s assets. Additionally, Kelly served as chief executive officer of the UWF Historic Trust, which is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the history of Northwest Florida.
Prior to joining the Division of Advancement, Dr. Kelly served as the director of the School of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts and chair of the Department of Communication Arts at UWF. He joined the UWF faculty in 2004 and served 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.
During his professional career, multiple honors have been bestowed upon him, including the UWF Distinguished Teaching Award; induction into the National Forensic Association Hall of Fame; National Forensic Association Eddie Myers Distinguished Service Award; Eastern Michigan University Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; induction into the Eastern Michigan University Forensics Hall of Fame; UWF Faculty Excellence award in Student Affairs; and recognition by the US Department of Defense as a Patriotic Employer.
Dr. 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 is married to Dr. Tressa Kelly and they have three children: Bree, Liam and Kieran.