John Clendenin and family donate $1 million to KSU for graduate fellowships

Members of the Clendenin family presented a $1 million donation this week — the largest single gift ever for scholarships at Kennesaw State University — to endow fellowships for graduate students and doctoral candidates.(For the complete story‚ please click on the headline above.)

Georgia (Jun 25, 2008) — Members of the Clendenin family presented a $1 million donation this week — the largest single gift ever for scholarships at Kennesaw State University — to endow fellowships for graduate students and doctoral candidates.

John Clendenin‚ who retired as CEO of the former BellSouth in 1994‚ presented the check to establish the Clendenin Fellows Program to KSU President Daniel S. Papp and senior officials of the KSU Foundation at a signing ceremony. Joining him in making the donation were his son‚ Thomas‚ and grandson‚ Josh‚ a recent college graduate.

“The emphasis for the Clendenin Fellows is on producing high quality graduates who will give back to the university‚” Papp said. “We are pleased the Clendenins have made this generous donation and structured it in a way that will benefit graduate and doctoral students‚ as well as the university.”

Beginning in the fall of 2009‚ the Clendenins’ endowment gift will support up to seven graduate and doctoral students annually — including KSU faculty members pursuing doctoral degrees — with fellowships of up to $15‚000. Master’s−level fellowships are available for up to two years‚ while doctoral candidates may receive the fellowships for up to three years. The fellowship is open to master’s and doctoral candidates pursuing degrees in any field. KSU currently offers 19 master’s programs and last year began offering doctorate programs.

Potential fellows may be invited to teach at KSU for two years upon completion of their master’s or doctoral programs. Candidates with undergraduate degrees from any university may apply for the fellowship program and may attend any accredited university‚ but preference will be given to KSU students and those planning to enter graduate programs at KSU. Preference for doctoral fellowships also will be given to KSU faculty seeking to complete doctoral studies.

Clendenin‚ 74‚ is fulfilling a long−held desire to contribute to graduate education. Thomas Clendenin said his father was unable to afford graduate school while working and supporting a young family upon graduating from Northwestern University.

“With my family history‚ I never expected to live this long‚” Clendenin said. “But here I am at 74‚ and I now have this wonderful opportunity to create the Clendenin Fellows Program‚ which we hope will become a major endowment as the corpus grows. It is especially gratifying to support a graduate program that is meaningful to individuals and to society.”

The Clendenins have lasting ties to KSU and have been ardent supporters for many years‚ according to Wesley K. Wicker‚ vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the KSU Foundation‚ which will administer the endowment.

Thomas Clendenin‚ a private consultant‚ is a trustee of the KSU Foundation and serves on one of the university’s advisory boards. In 1999‚ John Clendenin and his wife‚ Ann‚ contributed $1 million to build and equip high technology classrooms in the College of Mathematics and Science building‚ which now bears their family name.

“Members of our very large family have‚ over the years‚ taken undergraduate and graduate classes at KSU and worked in its athletics department‚” said John Clendenin‚ who has served on the boards of corporate powerhouses like Coca−Cola‚ RJR Nabisco‚ Wachovia‚ Equifax and Home Depot.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit