Several hundred students, faculty and staff of Kennesaw State University gathered Wednesday in the Bobbie Bailey Performance Center to hear KSU President Daniel Papp give his annual State of the University address for 2012.
And the news was good.
"The state of this university is excellent, even with the budgetary constraints we're all dealing with," said Papp, thanking his faculty and staff for working within those constraints and a struggling economy.
Papp said much has changed over the school's 49-year history. He remarked how the small college was founded in 1963 and began holding classes in 1966 in Marietta with 1,000 students and 37 faculty members. It moved to its present location on Chastain Road in 1967 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a slate of events beginning in October 2013.
Papp named Stevan H. Crew as honorary chair of KSU's 50th anniversary committee, which will be charged with planning events to celebrate the occasion.
Many building projects are underway this year on campus, including a $20 million building for the Bagwell College of Education, said Papp, adding it now graduates more teachers than any other university in Georgia.
University Place will open this fall, said Papp, noting 451 additional student beds will mean 3,500 students living on campus, or 13 percent of the student population.
Papp said last year's capital campaign met its five-year goal of $75 million a full 15 months ahead of schedule. "We also saw the largest private contribution and the largest grant KSU has ever received."
He congratulated KSU President Emeritus Betty Siegel on receiving the University System of Georgia Board of Regents Lifetime Achievement Award this weekend in Atlanta. KSU professor Tom Pusateri will also receive a 2012 Board of Regents award for his research and writings on effective teaching and student-learning practices. Pusateri is associate director of Kennesaw State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and a professor of psychology.
The problem of parking hasn't gone away, said Papp, but has been relieved by an off-campus shuttle service started last year that will be expanded for the fall. This expansion will mean an increase in parking fees, and Papp said there will be several town hall meetings on campus next month to address the issue.
Papp said Phase 3 of the sports and recreation complex will open April 30, and he said he is pleased to report that KSU athletes had a 3.11 GPA in the fall semester of 2011.
"I'm proud of this university and of its faculty, staff and students," Papp said. "No wonder KSU is one of the fastest-growing universities in Georgia and, dare I say, in the country."