KSU’s ‘potential is without limits’
Campus celebrates President Sam Olens’ investiture
KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 19, 2017) — Kennesaw State University celebrated the next chapter in its history Thursday with the investiture of Samuel S. Olens as its fourth president.
The investiture officially conferred the duties and responsibilities of the office to Olens, who became Kennesaw State’s president on Nov. 1, 2016. KSU faculty, staff and students joined elected officials, University System of Georgia officials, and higher education colleagues from throughout the state for the formal academic ceremony at the University’s Convocation Center.
“This investiture, with its traditions, is a momentous day for Kennesaw State University to celebrate its history, its future and the invaluable role this institution plays in serving the students of this community and the state of Georgia,” Olens said. “I look out my office window and am reminded daily why we are here — to provide a quality education and a supportive educational environment that will enable our students to thrive and pursue their dreams.”
Olens thanked the leadership of the University System and of Kennesaw State for their vision and dedication to make student success “our guiding principle, our No. 1 priority.” Following remarks from several local, state and campus leaders, Olens was presented the Presidential Medallion by University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley and formally vested.
“As chancellor, I believe in this great institution and its mission, and I appreciate the dedication of those in the University community who are so deeply committed to the success of our students,” Wrigley said. “Being a public university president today is sometimes challenging, frequently frustrating, but it is always rewarding. The reward comes in igniting intellectual curiosity, because, in doing so, you have altered the course of that student’s life.”
Olens praised the accomplishments of the three prior Kennesaw State presidents and the four presidents of the former Southern Polytechnic State University. He also predicted that “this University’s best days are yet to come,” stating that he is “honored and humbled to share that bright future with the outstanding members of the Kennesaw State community.”
“What started as a small community college has grown into an educational and economic powerhouse,” Olens said. “Today, we boast of a student body of almost 36,000 students who are being prepared to make their mark on our community, our state, our nation and the world. If we fulfill our commitment to them, their potential is without limits.”
Kennesaw State’s faculty and staff are dedicated to inspiring students and helping them achieve their goals, Olens pledged. The University has enhanced its reputation through high-impact educational practices, new advising structures, learning communities, an emphasis on undergraduate and graduate research, support of cross-sector collaborations, and high-demand career initiatives, he said.
“Kennesaw State University is a very unique institution of higher learning,” Olens said. “It is a very dynamic, nimble and creative student-centered university. The terms ‘inclusive,’ ‘innovative’ and ‘engagement’ are part of our DNA.”
To emphasize that, Olens quoted the Owl Creed, a commitment to academic excellence and personal integrity that each member of the Kennesaw State community is expected to follow. The Owl Creed states, in part: “I will always strive for personal and academic excellence, I will always respect the rights, feelings and property of others, and I will always encourage unity by appreciating the differences in people and their ideas.”
“This creed embodies the commitment that our faculty and staff display to our students and the University,” Olens said. “Their passion, excitement and grit to succeed is palpable, and I am awed by all that they do to help plan and build the futures of our students. Being a part of, and helping to lead this effort, is incredibly rewarding.”
Olens gave a special thanks to his wife, Lisa, and their children Lauren and Jonathan, as well as the numerous friends, relatives and alumni in attendance to share the occasion with him. Olens choked up as he recalled his parents and the relatives who raised him — that the importance they placed on education was “the reason I am standing here today.”
“An auto mechanic and a housewife imagined a wonderful world for their three children following World War II,” he said. “After they both died at an early age, my aunt and uncle, owners of a small bakery, instilled in us a love of education and a thirst for knowledge. Of the many remarkable experiences in my life, none would have been possible without that critical educational foundation.”
— Paul Floeckher
Photos by Lauren Kress and David Caselli; Video by Rob Witzel
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.