Former State Representative J. Derham Cole, Jr. Joins USC Upstate

Spartanburg, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Upstate has announced that J. Derham Cole, Jr. will join its leadership team, effective December 3, 2018. The outgoing State Representative for District 32 in Spartanburg County, Cole will bring more than 15 years of business and law experience to the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. He’ll report to Vice Chancellor Sheryl Turner-Watts. Cole, an attorney, will work closely with the executive team on all facets of the budget planning process to ensure the design, implementation and maintenance of control and compliance systems, and the integrity of the university’s financial and fiscal operations.

“Derham Cole offers talent, leadership and a proven commitment to the prosperity of this university and the community,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Brendan B. Kelly. “Our institution will benefit greatly from his professional experience and intelligence. I am excited to have him as part of our leadership team.”

“I am thrilled to join the transformative leadership team at USC Upstate,” said Cole. “Chancellor Kelly has articulated a bold vision for the future of the university, and I look forward to contributing to that positive momentum.”


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Earlier this month, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster presented Cole with the state’s highest civilian honor: the Order of the Palmetto. Cole was first elected to the House in 2008.

In addition to his years of public service, Cole has represented clients in business transactions and litigation since 2010 as a member of the Wilkes Law Firm, P.A. in Spartanburg. Prior to that, he was with the Cole Law Firm, LLC; the firm of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP, both in Spartanburg; and the firm of Leatherwood Walker Todd & Mann, P.C. (now Fox Rothschild, LLP) in Greenville.

Cole earned a B.S. in Business Economics and a Juris Doctor/Master of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He is a member of the Spartanburg County Library Board of Trustees and has served on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association and the Chapman Cultural Center. He was named Legislator of the Year by the S.C. Human Service Providers Association in 2016.

About USC Upstate

The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at #2 among Southern Regional Public Colleges. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit www.uscupstate.edu.