Prior to joining UWG, Dr. Kelly served as a chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, the largest regional comprehensive university in the USC system. As the head of the USC Upstate, Dr. Kelly has implemented Up Together: USC Upstate Strategic Plan 2018-2023. The plan outlines three priorities: providing rigorous, career-relevant and accessible education; enhancing the quality of life in Upstate South Carolina; and being a university of choice for faculty, staff, students, and the community. Kelly has led an academic reorganization that resulted in two new colleges, numerous initiatives to improve and expand the physical campus, including an extensive renovation of the library, and a rebranding project that aims to express more clearly USC Upstate’s mission and culture.

Dr. Kelly
Dr. Brendan Kelly


  • Ph.D. in rhetoric and political communication from Wayne State University
  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations from Eastern Michigan University
  • Master’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University.

Honors and Awards

  • AUWF Distinguished Teaching Award
  • National Forensic Association (NFA) Hall of Fame inductee
  • NFA Eddie Myers Distinguished Service Award
  • Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Young Alumnus Award
  • EMU Forensics Hall of Fame inductee
  • University of West Florida Faculty Excellence Award in Student Affairs
  • Patriotic Employer by the U.S. Department of Defense