USG chancellor gives Kennesaw State high marks during visit

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Henry "Hank" M. Huckaby lauds students and academic progress at Georgia’s third-largest university

Click here to view a video of the Chancellor's visit to KSU.

During his visit to Kennesaw State University this week, University System of Georgia Chancellor Henry "Hank" M. Huckaby reiterated his positive impression of the university’s present momentum. In a half-daylong itinerary that concluded with a lunch meeting with students on the KSU campus, Huckaby met with President Daniel S. Papp and his cabinet and engaged in dialogues with faculty, staff and student leaders.

Huckaby, who was installed as chancellor earlier this year, said he was proud of the progress Kennesaw State has made during its nearly half century in existence. The chancellor complimented Papp and his administration on their leadership, and said he was impressed with KSU’s trajectory over the past four years.

“It is amazing to visit the campus today and see what has happened over all these years,” Huckaby said. “Not only has it grown in terms of the number of faculty and students, it has grown dramatically in terms of academic credibility and ranking. This school is doing great things.”

As part of his commitment to visit all units in the University System, Huckaby spent several hours in various meetings on the Kennesaw State campus. The chancellor also made time in his schedule to answer questions from KSU students and have lunch with them in The Commons – Student Culinary Center, the university’s state-of-the-art dining hall.   

“Chancellor Huckaby brings a wealth of experience to his position, having served 40 years in higher education,” said Papp. “I have had the privilege of serving with him during my tenure with the Board of Regents, and he is very well-positioned to understand the challenges and opportunities facing higher education in the foreseeable future.”

One of the questions the chancellor was asked during a media conference dealt with the issue of adding collegiate football to the roster of men’s sports. Kennesaw State students voted last fall in favor of funding a football program as early as 2014.

Huckaby said Kennesaw State’s plan was well thought out and a “logical, multi-step plan,” which would not detract from it academic mission. “I am confident, given what has happened here over the past four years the always growing upward trajectory of the quality of education here that the leadership and the faculty will not allow that to happen,” he said.

In addition to meeting with the president’s cabinet, Huckaby interacted with faculty representatives. Following a private meeting with them in the morning, the chancellor met with about 20 student representatives from various student organizations for lunch at the Commons. He solicited feedback from the students and discussed various topics, including HOPE scholarships, institutional fees, impact of budget cuts on campus resources and students’ ability to pay costs, and financial aid, among others.

A former college professor at DeKalb College (now Georgia Perimeter College) and Emory University, Huckaby also has lectured at the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.

Huckaby has a deep understanding of the various issues facing higher education in the state honed from his service. Early in his career, Huckaby worked in the area of admissions at Georgia State University (1967-71) and Gordon College (1972-73). Later, he served as director of the Fiscal Research Program at Georgia State University (1995-97), director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA (1997-2000), senior vice president of Finance and Administration at UGA (2000-06) and a special assistant to the president at UGA on a part-time basis (2006-09).

In a career that goes beyond his long association with the University System, Huckaby has a long history of public service to the citizens of Georgia. His service in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, first as a senior policy coordinator from 1973-75, and then as its director, from 1991-95 has provided extensive experience in state finance. During that time, Huckaby was responsible for overseeing the state budget on behalf of the governor. He also served as the interim chief financial officer for then Gov. Sonny Perdue during Perdue’s transition period.

After earning an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Young Harris College, Huckaby pursued his education at Georgia State University earning both a bachelor’s degree in political science and an M.B.A. in international business. He continued his education through additional graduate studies at the University of Georgia.

His commitment to public service during his career led to Huckaby being tapped on two occasions to head other key state agencies. From 1977 to 1980, he was commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and from 1980 to 1991, he was the executive director of the Georgia Residential Finance Authority. During his tenure at both agencies, Huckaby was elected by his peers to serve as president of their respective national organizations.

Huckaby was sworn in this past January to represent Georgia House District 113 as a Republican. His legislative experience also includes a stint as the director of the Georgia State Senate Research Office from 1975-77.