Kennesaw State University unveils plans to celebrate 50 years of progress during Founders Week

Early students

Charter establishing Kennesaw Junior College approved in October 1963

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 6, 2013) —On Oct. 9, 1963, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia chartered Kennesaw Junior College. Today, 50 years later, the institution has evolved from a small junior college to its current status as Georgia’s third-largest university. 

To mark this impressive half-century of growth and evolution, Kennesaw State University officials are busy making plans to launch a four-year celebration marking the institution’s chartering, first classes, first buildings and first graduation.  During “Founders Week,” slated for Oct. 7-11, KSU will mark both its chartering and the beginning of its 50th Anniversary celebration with an impressive slate of exhibitions, groundbreakings, receptions and symposia. “Founders Day” also will be recognized on Wednesday, Oct. 9, with several high-profile events.

“This institution has transformed itself many times during the past 50 years,” said Kennesaw State University President Dr. Daniel S. Papp. “We’ve come a long way from our humble roots to the doctoral-granting university we are today, and that evolution has been aided greatly by our outstanding faculty and staff. Our students are among the best and brightest in the state, the nation and the world – and it’s undeniable that we have some of the best facilities of any university in this country. The 50th Anniversary celebration will allow us to reflect on our proud past and look forward to our very promising future.”

“Founders Week” will kick off in high gear at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 7, when Kennesaw State enlivens the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s “First Monday Breakfast” with a “spirit squad.”  President Papp will introduce legendary coach Vince Dooley, who will deliver formal remarks to the morning crowd of business leaders. Later that afternoon, historical reflections will take center stage, with the unveiling of the exhibition and website titled, “The Kennesaw State Spirit: KSU at 50;” the debut of University Historian Dr. Thomas A. Scott’s book, “Kennesaw State University, The First 50 Years: 1963-2013”; and a lecture by Dr. Scott on the history of the institution.

A jam-packed slate of events will ensue throughout the rest of the week, including:

  • A university-wide Student Convocation focused on the book, “My Orange Duffel Bag” with author Sam Bracken and Legendary Coach Bill Curry (Oct. 8);
  • “Hoot-a-Palooza,” a student gathering and rally at Town Center Mall (Oct. 8);
  • Celebration of the groundbreaking for the Skip Spann Connector, which will tremendously improve traffic flow in the University’s Chastain corridor (Oct. 9);
  • Groundbreaking for the renovation of Sturgis Library, a historical building erected in 1979 (Oct. 9);
  • President’s Reception and Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra Concert (Oct. 9);
  • A symposium, “Higher Education: The Next 50 Years,” featuring Dr. G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby (Oct. 10);
  • Groundbreaking for the Dr. Betty L. Siegel Student Recreation and Activities Center (Oct. 10);
  • The “Brunch on the Bricks” Retirees Event (Oct. 11);
  • A panel discussion, “The Evolution of Inclusion at Kennesaw State University” (Oct. 11); and
  • Private salutes to key donors and trustees of the KSU Foundation.

Far from its founding five decades ago as a small commuter college, Kennesaw State now boasts nearly 25,000 students, first-class on-campus housing, NCAA Division I athletics, and more than 90 different undergraduate and graduate programs – including doctorates in education, nursing, business and international conflict management.

“Though we are a fairly young institution, we’ve accomplished a lot in 50 years,” President Papp said. “Many faculty, staff and students helped lay the foundation for our great institution, and we are looking forward to celebrating their contributions, as well as those who have helped us achieve the prominence we enjoy today.”

Throughout the four-year-long anniversary celebration, events will be added to mark other major milestones in the University’s history, including these key dates: 

  • April 22, 1964– Marietta and Cobb County voters approved the bond referendum to finance the construction of a new college
  • November 18, 1964– Groundbreaking was held for construction of the new college on the current site 
  • August 11, 1965 – The Board of Regents officially approved the naming of Kennesaw Junior College
  • September 26, 1966 – The first Kennesaw Junior College classes were held at Southern Technical Institute (now Southern Polytechnic State University)
  • January 9, 1967 – The first classes were held on the current site of Kennesaw State University (then Kennesaw Junior College)
  • June 9, 1967 – The first Commencement ceremony was held for Kennesaw Junior College

 Several campus committees are hard at work finalizing the Founders Week events, planning for which began last year. In the coming weeks, the theme, visual identity and website address for the 50th Anniversary also will be announced, and more information will be provided regarding times, locations and details for specific events.

For further information, please contact Kennesaw State’s Office of External Affairs at (770) 423-6350. 

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 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 24,600 from 130 countries.