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Chronicle of Higher Education names Kennesaw State a top producing university for Fulbright Scholars


University listed among the top seven of all master's institutions

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Feb. 24, 2015) — Kennesaw State University was recognized as one of the top producing institutions of Fulbright Scholars for the 2014-15 academic year by the Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this month. Among master’s institutions, Kennesaw State was among the top seven with three KSU faculty members earning Fulbright grants this year.

The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, has provided grants for more than 300,000 participants to study, teach and conduct research in more than 125 countries worldwide since its inception in 1946. Each year, more than 800 U.S. scholars teach or conduct research abroad in a wide array of academic and professional fields through the program.

“Being named among the top comprehensive universities in the country for our number of Fulbright Scholars speaks strongly to Kennesaw State’s robust academic talent among our faculty,” said Ken Harmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “KSU professors serve as goodwill ambassadors while working as Fulbright Scholars in their host countries, but they also gain international recognition for their professional talents and help establish new connections abroad for the University.”

Three Kennesaw State professors were named as Fulbright Scholars for the 2014-15 academic year:  David Mitchell, professor of gerontology, Linda Hightower, professor of visual arts, and Amanda Richey, assistant professor of TESOL. Kennesaw State’s faculty members are in Israel, Nepal and Jordan, respectively, this academic year.

“Kennesaw State’s Fulbright Scholars share their scholarly knowledge and research while abroad, which allows for a dynamic exchange of ideas and contributes to finding solutions of shared international concerns,” said Charles Amlaner, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate College. Faculty members also bring back experiences that enrich their scholarship and teaching in the future, he added.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates activities relevant to the Fulbright Student Program and Fulbright Scholar Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 

Kennesaw State researchers use BMI to help increase the number of healthy premature infants


KENNESAW, Ga.  (Feb. 17, 2015) — Kennesaw State University researchers have developed a new tool that will provide a more complete assessment of preterm infant size, helping individualize nutritional care to optimize growth and other health outcomes in preterm infants.

The study “BMI Curves for Preterm Infants,” published in the March issue of Pediatrics, the Journal of   the American Academy of Pediatrics (KSU authors Irene E. Olsen, M. Louise Lawson, A. Nicole Ferguson, Rebecca Cantrell and Shannon C. Grabich), shows that when standard growth curves take the infant’s body mass index (BMI) into account, it can result in improved nutrition for the preterm infant. These new measurements provide more information for doctors and clinicians and ultimately help premature infants grow better.

“We developed gender-specific BMI-for-age percentile tables and growth curves that, when used in conjunction with weight-, length-, and head-circumference-for-age growth curves, help reveal disproportionate growth in infants that is not detected by current size-for-age methods,” said Louise Lawson, professor of statistics at Kennesaw State and one of the authors of the study.

Previously, the researchers showed that infants born prematurely may have gained more weight than they should while in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but clinicians lacked sufficient tools to measure this. Overfeeding may result because preterm infants’ growth rates after delivery can fluctuate disproportionately. For example, their length (or height) has been shown to be slower than their ability to put on weight. Thus a short, overweight infant might be diagnosed as small for gestational age. The disproportionality in growth may cause caregivers to overfeed the infant, even if the infant is growing correctly for its length.

The new research, which utilized a large dataset from more than 300 NICUs in the U.S., indicates that during development in the NICU, after birth, length is where infants do not grow well. Although this may seem trivial, infants given extra nutrition because of being short but appropriate for their length could be at high risk of obesity and other health problems later in life. The new BMI curves will provide clinicians, researchers and parents with a new tool to assess whether the growth of preterm infants is appropriate for their length and specific gestational age.

“While further studies are ongoing at KSU, the new BMI curves may allow for better identification of infants who are at high risk of common problems after birth, such as low blood sugar or difficulty maintaining a normal body temperature,” said Dr. Ravi Patel, an Emory University neonatologist, who reviewed the authors’ research and is working with them on needed further outcome studies.

According to the World Health Organization’s preterm birth fact sheet, “Every year an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks gestation), and this number is rising.” In the United States about 12 percent, or almost half a million U.S. babies are born prematurely.



Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country.

— Robert S. Godlewski, 470-578-3448,

Board of Regents approves Kennesaw State's acquisition of BrandsMart property

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Development moving forward on new health clinic, lab space, marching band and storage spaces

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Feb. 11, 2015) — In the final phase of Kennesaw State University’s acquisition of the property formerly occupied by the Kennesaw BrandsMart USA store, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today approved $12.55 million for the purchase.   

The Kennesaw State University Foundation previously acquired the property — approximately 16.775 acres at 3305 Busbee Drive — in 2014 on behalf of the University. Today’s action formally transfers ownership of the property to the University. The BOR’s approval came nearly a year after it authorized the University’s lease of the retail store and its expansive parking lot from the Foundation in order to allow development to begin.

The development includes repurposing the retail building to create space for a student health center, additional space for labs and classrooms, a new marching band program and critically needed storage. In addition, the property will add 720 new parking spaces that will be accessible through Kennesaw State’s park-and-ride bus shuttle program.

Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp called the acquisition and development of the project “very strategic,” noting that the property would link the KSU Center on Busbee Drive — home of the College of Continuing and Professional Education — with the 88-acre KSU Sports and Recreation Park, creating 120 acres of contiguous land east of the main campus. 

“We thank the Board of Regents for finalizing this acquisition and enabling us to integrate this much-needed facility and parking lot into our physical plant, particularly as we move toward completing the consolidation of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic,” Papp said. “Space continues to be at a premium as we expand to meet the needs of a rapidly growing student population. We are especially pleased that by adapting an existing facility, we can acquire much-needed space in a manner consistent with the USG’s space utilization objectives.”

In addition to the expected growth of the University through consolidation, the project also comes as the University anticipates kicking off its first season of NCAA Division I football in Fall 2015.

“The University will be able to accommodate the growing space needs of existing programs and add new programs, such as the marching band that will be associated with our football program,” Papp said. “The real plus will come when we formally link our main campus and east campus, making it easier for students and staff to access these important facilities.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country.

Board of Regents approves Kennesaw State Ph.D. program


Ph.D. in analytics and data science one of the first of its kind in the U.S.

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Feb. 11, 2015) —The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved at its meeting today a new Ph.D. program in analytics and data science at Kennesaw State University. The program is one of the first of its kind in the nation.

The innovative program, which will be launched in fall 2015, is designed to train individuals to translate complex large, structured and unstructured data into information to improve decision-making. The doctoral coursework will include programming, data mining, statistical modeling and the mathematical foundations to support these concepts.

The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted the demand for deep analytical talent in the U.S. will outpace the supply by almost 200,000 people before the end of the decade. McKinsey’s 2011 “Big Data Report” and subsequent studies point to the need for universities to educate and train data scientists to address this demand.

“Developing new Ph.D. programs is one of Kennesaw State’s top strategic priorities, and this program directly ties to the University System of Georgia’s goal of increasing programs that contribute to a global Georgia,” said Ken Harmon, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Graduates of this program can either pursue a position in the private or public sector as a practicing data scientist – where demand is expected to greatly outpace the supply – or pursue a position within academia, where they would be uniquely qualified to teach these skills to the next generation of practitioners.”

The decision to develop a program in analytics and data science stems from the success of the university’s existing Master of Science in Applied Statistics, whose graduates are in great demand and continue to have a 100 percent placement. Another factor was the minor in applied statistics and data analysis, which has undergraduate demand from every college across the university and similarly strong placement.

“Given the success of our outstanding master’s degree program in applied statistics, it is natural to build upon that and create a Ph.D. program,” said Mark Anderson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, which will house the new program. “This program will help close the talent gap in the area of data science and further enhance the university’s regional and national recognition in applied analytics, while expanding the pool for analytical talent in Georgia.”

Jennifer Lewis Priestley, professor of applied statistics and data science, will serve as the director of the Ph.D. program. Priestley, who also serves as director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Services, was honored with the 2012 SAS Distinguished Professor award for her efforts toward educating and preparing students for a career in statistical analysis.

According to Priestley, the next generation of statisticians requires a new set of knowledge and skills in order to effectively serve the data analysis needs of the 21st century.

“The focus of the doctoral program will be to develop skills and incorporate more emphasis on applied mathematics and computer programming than has historically been the case,” said Priestley. “Due to the rigor and unique approach of our program, we expect to attract top candidates from universities throughout the world.”

Kennesaw State introduced its first Ph.D. program in 2011 in international conflict management. The program continues to grow and currently enrolls 48 students from 13 countries. The university also offers professional doctorates in education, nursing and business.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 

Contact: Robert S. Godlewski, 470-578-3448,




Kennesaw State Football inks 16 on National Signing Day

Owls Football Head Coach Brian Bohannon

Class features seven high school players and nine transfers

KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb. 4, 2015) – Kennesaw State University signed 16 recruits during National Signing Day, head coach Brian Bohannon announced today.
The second signing class in school history includes seven high school players, six junior college athletes and three four-year transfers who have signed grants-in-aid.
Bohannon and his staff's recruiting efforts resulted in one junior college All-American, eight all-state players and three region players of the year from Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. The group consists of three defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, three running backs, three defensive backs, two linebackers, one tight end and one athlete.
"It's another historical day for Kennesaw State football. It's our second signing class and it's amazing how fast the time has gone by," Bohannon said. "It felt like yesterday I was here doing this same press conference for the first signing class. I think this is a special one because we're getting ready to start the first football season in the history of the school so it's even more special.
"Our No. 1 overall goal was roughly 22 (signees). We set out for 14 transfers and the big part of that was to get some age in our program, to get some juniors and sophomores who have played some college football," Bohannon said. "Right now we have six mid-year guys, we have four junior college and two four-year transfers that are on campus today and are working out and are a part of our culture. We have three other young men who signed today that will give us nine transfers in this class."
The list of junior college signees include Chaston Bennett (RB, 5-10, 170, Jr., Crockett, Texas / Tyler Junior College), Leigh Comfort (OL, 6-2, 270, Jr., Oklahoma City, Okla., NE Oklahoma A&M), Derrick Farrow (DB, 5-11, 200, Jr., Cochran, Ga. / East Central CC; Miss.), Malik Letatau (OL, 6-1, 280, Jr., Mountain View, Calif. / College of San Mateo), Chance McNulty (DB, 5-11, 180, Jr., Madison, Wis. / Itawamba CC) and Kyron Minter (LB, 6-0, 210, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas / Navarro College).
Bohannon and his staff also added four-year transfers Kingsley Ejike (DL, 6-3, 230, R-So., Covington, Ga. / UAB), Matthew Foster (DL, 6-3, 245, R-So., Sparks, Ga., Middle Tennessee State) and Dustyn Moore (LB, 6-0, 225, Conyers, Ga. / Kent State).
"At the same time we wanted to lay the foundation from a high school standpoint so we had seven young men who signed today as far as the signing class," Bohannon said. "We are sitting at 16 and that leaves us a handful of scholarships to pick up the rest of our transfers. That's the way we planned it. We wanted to give it some more time as teams go through spring ball to see if some guys may fall through or decide they are not fitting where they are and can come back to us.
"From a standpoint of what we were shooting for and what we accomplished we feel really good about where we are today and the young men we signed," Bohannon said. "I think if you look at our class, it's a bunch of guys that can run and a bunch of guys that can hit, and those are important factors."
For the entire rundown of the entire class, please visit:


Kennesaw State President honored with Leadership Award by Cobb Chamber of Commerce


Click here for the downloadable photo

Daniel S. Papp recognized for his vision and commitment to higher education

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Jan. 29, 2015) — The Cobb Chamber of Commerce presented its 2014 Leadership Award to Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp Saturday evening (Jan. 24), during the organization’s 73rd annual meeting, which was attended by nearly 1,000 business, community and military leaders, economic development partners and elected officials.

The Chamber’s Leadership Award honors an individual whose extraordinary leadership, vision and trailblazing efforts have significantly impacted Cobb County. According to David Connell, president and CEO of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, Papp was recognized for his unwavering commitment in serving the community by leading Kennesaw State through its consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University and for his work in building a football program.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Cobb Chamber’s Leadership Award, and thank the organization’s leadership for recognizing the work we are doing at Kennesaw State University,” Papp said. “Our consolidation is a significant milestone both in the university's history and in Cobb County’s history. The faculty, staff and students of our two campuses are outstanding and dedicated individuals, and we thank them for all of their hard work and contributions to the consolidation. We also recognize that we are in a position to create a world-class institution because of the overwhelming support of our local community.”

Papp, who has served as president of Kennesaw State since 2006, has led the consolidation process between Southern Polytechnic and Kennesaw State over the past 16 months. On Nov. 1, 2013, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved Chancellor Hank Huckaby’s proposal to consolidate the two Cobb County-based public institutions, and named Papp president. The Board of Regents gave final approval of the consolidation on Jan. 6, 2015. Several additional actions will take place over the next two years for the consolidation to be complete, including final accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in late 2015 and the creation of a 2017-2022 Strategic Plan for the university by 2017.

“I have witnessed first-hand the challenges of mergers in the higher education business as a longtime board member of Chattahoochee Technical College, and I have watched Dr. Papp provide the vision and leadership needed to organize a process that ensured a smooth transition and a big step forward in creating a nationally recognized university,” Connell stated. “Cobb County and the state of Georgia are well served by Dr. Papp’s goal of creating a university that is directly linked to the needs of businesses and that embraces a global perspective for a diverse population of students. This award is an affirmation of his vision, leadership and execution of the goals associated with the consolidation.”

Ben Mathis, outgoing chairman of the Cobb Chamber Board of Directors and managing partner of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP, presented the award to Papp. Mathis was one of Papp’s students at Georgia Tech, where Papp taught for over 20 years.  

“The Leadership Award is not given each year, but only to recipients who have a profound impact on our community,” Mathis said. “Dan’s leadership of the merger between Kennesaw State and Southern Poly is having a transformational effect on our area. His work has been remarkable, to accomplish so much in such a short period of time.  He is leading these two fine schools on a path to a world-class university. He has a vision and the ability – the proverbial right person, at the right time and right place.”


- Tiffany Capuano; Photo by Jason Braverman

Kennesaw State AD Vaughn Williams Represents Atlantic Sun Conference on Governing Body

Vaughn Williams

NCAA Division I Council Meets in D.C.

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 15, 2015) – Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams is representing the Atlantic Sun Conference on the inaugural NCAA Division I Council, which began meeting today during the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. The new Council, which conducts the day-to-day business of Division I, consists of 40 individuals comprised of athletics directors (AD), conference office delegates, faculty athletic representatives (FAR), senior woman administrators (SWA) and two student-athletes. 

Each of the 32 Division I conferences have a permanent seat on the Council which may be filled by an AD, SWA, FAR, conference office or other athletic department administrator. A minimum of 60 percent of the 32 conference seats will be filled by AD's. The additional eight seats are guaranteed slots for four commissioners (one each from the FBS Autonomy five, the FBS non-Autonomy five, FCS and DI), two student-athletes and two Faculty Athletic Representatives. 

"I am extremely excited to serve and represent the Atlantic Sun Conference on the Council," Williams said. "As Division I college athletics continue to evolve, it is an honor to be nominated and appointed to serve on the Council with so many distinguished and accomplished administrators throughout the country as we work together to help shape the future. 

"The Council is a made up of a diverse group of individuals with varied backgrounds, and I am extremely excited that student-athletes will be at the table with us and have a voice," Williams added. "I am looking forward to the challenges that we will face as a group in approving legislation that will enhance the student-athlete experience while at the same time serving the best interests of the institutions and conferences."

The Council was appointed at the recommendation of a Division I Board of Directors' subcommittee that was seeking an appropriate level of diversity. The Council replaces the current Legislative and Leadership councils and the group's first order of business will be to design the subgroups that will assist in developing legislation, running championships and performing other necessary functions.

"The recently approved redesign of the NCAA governance structure presents a critical crossroads for all of Division I," Atlantic Sun Conference Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. "I believe it gives the entire DI membership an amazing opportunity to be proactive in shaping the future.

"We are very pleased that Vaughn Williams will serve as the A-Sun delegate for our inaugural term on the new Council," Gumbart added. "In his own words, I know he is 'fired up' to meet the challenge, and the A-Sun shares that excitement."

In August, the Division I Board of Directors voted to restructure how schools and conferences will govern themselves and paved the way for student-athletes to have a voice – and a vote – at every level of decision-making.

The new model also grants flexibility to schools in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences to change rules for themselves from a list of specific areas within Division I.

KSU to host inaugural two-day Shaky Boots Festival

Shaky Boots Festival poster

Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell and more to perform 

Jan. 8, 2015 (Kennesaw, GA)-– Shaky Boots Festival will take over the backyard of Kennesaw State University on May 16-17. The 88-acre KSU Sports and Entertainment Park, located just one mile from the main campus, will be the host location of the first ever, top-tier artist, multi-day, multi-stage country music event ever held in Georgia. A full list of confirmed artists can be found below.

“Country music has such a rich history in the South,” says Shaky Boots co-founder Tim Sweetwood, "and I was surprised that Georgia doesn’t have a first-class festival dedicated to the genre. Music is my absolute passion, and with the overwhelmingly positive response to Shaky Knees in three short years, it just felt like the right time to launch Shaky Boots.”

Two-day weekend passes go on sale Thursday, Jan. 8, at 10 a.m. EST. Passes start at $169, plus fees. VIP passes starting at $499, plus fees, are also available. VIP passes include access to exclusive lounges and viewing areas; catered lunches and dinners; complimentary beer; and access to private restrooms and cash liquor bars. Fans can purchase passes at the Fifth Third Bank Stadium Box office or online at

“The producers of the festival are proud to announce this hard-hitting country music line-up and we are thrilled to welcome country music fans from around the country to beautiful Kennesaw State,” said Marty Elliott, executive director of the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park.  

The KSU Sports and Entertainment Park is also the site of the annual Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival, which will return Oct.  23-24, as well as home to Kennesaw State Owl’s Football, Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer Teams. For more information about events happening at the park, please visit or call the box office at 470-578-4849.

Shaky Boots 2015 lineup includes, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell, Old Crow Medicine Show ,Sara Evans, Justin Moore, Joe Nichols, Eli Young Band, Kip Moore, Jana Kramer, Josh Thompson, Kristian Bush, The Devil Makes Three, Brothers Osborne, Cracker, The Cadillac Three, The Whiskey Gentry, Drake White, Amanda Shires, Claire Dunn, The Railers, Brooke Eden, Jim White vs. The Packway Handle Band and more.

For more information on Shaky Boots and to purchase tickets visit,

For media inquiries, contact Crissa Requate ( or Molly Kummerle ( at Mason Jar Media.

Kennesaw State to offer a bachelor’s degree in public relations

Social Science North View dc 4.jpg

Board of Regents approval recognizes expanding opportunities for PR professionals

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Jan. 7, 2015) — Kennesaw State University will begin offering a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations following approval Tuesday by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The new major will be available fall 2015.

The new stand-alone degree represents an expansion of the University’s program in public relations, which previously was offered as a concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Communication. 

“The new B.S. in public relations demonstrates Kennesaw State’s commitment to providing professionally focused, market-driven and academically rigorous degree programs that best prepare our students to meet critical needs in our local communities, the region and state,” said W. Ken Harmon, the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The creation of degree programs in public relations — Georgia Southern and University of Georgia also offer the degree — reflects both an increase in student interest and employment opportunities.

At Kennesaw State, 139 of the 336 students who graduated in FY 2014 with a B.S. in communication concentrated in public relations. Currently, 450 students are concentrating in public relations. University officials expect that a minimum of 550 students will major in the field by 2019.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, some 80,100 job openings are anticipated in public relations- related occupations from 2012-2022. An increase of 28.4 percent in employment for public relations managers is also expected over the 10-year period. The growth in employment for PR specialists is expected to jump 36.8 percent.   

“Clearly, this great job outlook is making public relations a highly desirable career choice for today’s students,” said Barbara Gainey, chair of Kennesaw State’s Department of Communication. “It is critical that students gain a thorough knowledge of PR theory and practice, as well as the skills demanded as this discipline becomes more dynamic, complex and integrated into organizations of all types.”

Students interested in the “gated” public relations major must meet a GPA requirement and pass a writing test. To earn the new bachelor’s degree, students must complete 123 hours of study, including courses focusing on PR theory, research and practice, as well as an opportunity to complete an internship in the field. Course content will be taught in traditional face-to-face and online formats, and in a hybrid format that mixes face-to-face and online delivery. Existing faculty, as well as lecturers and adjunct professors among the many PR professionals practicing in the Atlanta Metro and Northwest Georgia regions, will teach courses.

Gainey noted that the new bachelor’s degree in public relations represents a significant milestone for Kennesaw State’s communication department.

“We are excited about adding a second major, especially as we celebrate the Department of Communication’s 25th anniversary and a new academic year for the newly consolidated KSU,” she said. “Our new gated program and new major will help ensure that our graduates are ready for a competitive marketplace and exceptionally well-prepared to make an immediate impact in their new careers."

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000 from 130 countries.


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