Papp Promises Engagement with Local Community
KSU President Daniel Papp discusses on-campus expansion and off-campus relations at annual address.
“Over the past year, we have received quite a bit of national recognition,” Kennesaw State University President Daniel Papp began his State of the University speech on Thursday morning. “Although, admittedly, not always in the way that I would have hoped.”
Papp's address, which he presented both Wednesday and Thursday, is his fifth since becoming president of KSU in 2006, and commemorated Kennesaw State's 48th year in operation. Papp said this year, he would “temporarily leave the challenge of becoming a nationally recognized university on the table” to focus on matters involving university development, local controversies, and changing perspectives of academia.
“A number of faculty members have expressed sharply differing views in public media forums and private forums about who and what a ‘contrarian’ really is,” Papp said. “I’ll complicate the discussion even more by saying that, personally, I do not agree completely with any of the viewpoints that have been expressed, nor do I disagree completely with any of the viewpoints that have been expressed.
“A university should be a marketplace of ideas and outlooks, and people should be free, especially in universities, to discuss, debate and dissect them. This is what academic freedom, and more generically, freedom of speech and the other First Amendment freedoms, are all about.”
Papp said the university has not devoted enough time and effort to communicating and engaging with the local community. “We need to change that, and we need to change it now," he said.
In his address, Papp also announced that the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services recently received a $2.9 million grant from the United States Department of Defense to study brain trauma, and praised the university’s President’s Emerging Global Scholars project, designed to draw Fulbright and Rhodes Scholarships to KSU students.
Papp said that with the university’s Continuing and Professional Education program factored, the overall student population of KSU numbers approximately 46,000.
“It’s no secret that traffic congestion and parking are major issues at KSU,” Papp stated. He said the university would address the problem using numerous projects, including an off-campus shuttle system that will debut this fall at KSU. Papp also said he would like KSU to take advantage of recent SPLOST-funded projects, including a proposed overpass that would link the school’s east parking deck directly to Busbee Parkway through an I-75 connector.
Papp said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that KSU will receive funding this year to expand the Bagwell College of Education building, and said that a number of buildings and constructions are planned for the immediate future at KSU, including additional residential halls, a second on-campus dining hall, a new student activities and recreation center and an expanded business education building.
Although Papp said there was the possibility of additional intercollegiate sports programs beginning at KSU, he also said that "significant funding must be raised before football becomes a reality.” He added that the search for a new athletic director at Kennesaw State is “proceeding well” and that the university should name a new director within the next couple of weeks.
“My proposal is this,” said Papp. “We at Kennesaw State University will continue to strive for the goal we set last year of becoming a nationally recognized university by the beginning of the second half of our century, only four years from now, and we will do this by, among other things, being a university fully committed to engagement. Engagement with our local community, engagement with our state, engagement with our nation and engagement with the world.”
Papp continued, “We will redouble our efforts in every area to understand others, and to help others understand us. We will become nationally recognized, and we will become known in the local community, in Georgia, in the nation and in the world as Kennesaw State, Georgia’s engaged university.”