Kennesaw State University Founders Day marked by two groundbreakings and a special concert


Events part of a week of festivities marking the university’s 50th anniversary  …

Georgia (Oct 9, 2013)

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Oct. 9, 2013) — It was on this day 50 years ago that the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia chartered Kennesaw Junior College. During a week of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Kennesaw State University, two groundbreakings and a concert marked Founders Day.
First up Wednesday morning was the groundbreaking for the new Skip Spann Connector, a bridge over Interstate 75 that will give the Kennesaw State community better access to Fifth-Third Bank Stadium, restaurants and retail stores.
“The Skip Spann Connector will add another access point to, and egress point from, the Kennesaw State campus that 28,000 people will benefit from,” said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. “It was truly a marvel how everyone pulled together to create the Skip Spann Connector.”
The connector will feature two lanes of traffic in each direction, plus turn lanes, and wide sidewalks on each side and a 4-foot bicycle lane for pedestrians and cyclists – design elements suggested by students, including some from KSU.
The morning groundbreaking was followed by a second groundbreaking, this time for a $4.4 million expansion and renovation project at the Sturgis Library.The historic building is named after Kennesaw State University’s first president, Horace W. Sturgis. The project will encompass architectural design and construction to expand the current 104,000-square-foot facility by 1,600 square feet, and to provide a new front entrance to the building. The library was built in 1981.
Today’s festivities will culminate with a special Founders Day Concertat the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center, featuring the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble and soprano Leah Partridge.
The concert will begin with a special arrangement of the KSU Fight Song, performed by the Men’s Ensemble and conducted by Leslie J. Blackwell.
The KSU Wind Ensemble will debut the world premiere of “Forge of Hephaestus.” Conducted by David Thomas Kehler, this new work by Jennifer Mitchell was specifically commissioned for KSU’s 50th Anniversary.
School of Music composer-in-residence Laurence Sherr reflects the theme of the anniversary celebration, “Celebrating Our Past, Igniting Our Future,” with his composition “Illuminations,” featuring “Sunset Crowds,” “Lakeside Reflections” and “Moonlight Dances.”
“This arrangement represents a new direction in my work, perhaps one that creates a musical link with my ancestors,” Sherr said.
Tonight’s concert will end with a performance of Symphony No. 4 in G Major by Gustav Mahler, according to School of Music Interim Director and Conductor Michael Alexander. The Mahler piece will feature new faculty member and renowned soprano Leah Partridge.
“We are thrilled to have Leah with us, and hope she will remain with us for the next 50 years,” Alexander said. “This is a significant concert for both the School of Music and Kennesaw State University. The musical selections are diverse, and they will be performed by a huge array of music students. We are pleased to play a role in helping the University celebrate its 50th anniversary.”
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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