Kennesaw State University celebrates 50 years

After a campus and community commemoration of its first 50 years during “Founders Week,…

Georgia (Oct 16, 2013)After a campus and community commemoration of its first 50 years during “Founders Week,” Oct. 7 through Oct. 11, Kennesaw State University is embarking on its next 50 years while committing to becoming a “world class academic institution.” 


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As a reflection of KSU’s growing stature and expanded mission, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia identified the institution in August with the distinction of being classified as one of the state’s “comprehensive universities.” 

Institutions classified as comprehensive universities offer undergraduate and master’s level programs with a number of doctoral programs. The university’s new status reflects its role as a comprehensive residential university with a growing student population of 24,600 from 130 countries. 

“Kennesaw State University has made incredible strides over 50 years of its history, starting basically as a junior college — It is now a doctoral university, with Division I athletic programs, Ph.d programs and doctoral programs,” President Daniel S. Papp told the Ledger-News Sept. 25. “We have a superb faculty, an excellent staff and a wonderful student body. We are a university on the way to becoming a world-class institution.”

The Board of Regents, along with changing the school’s status to one of the state’s premier universities, approved NCAA Division I football at the university, where the Owls will play an inaugural season of Big South Conference football beginning in 2013 at the new Fifth Third Bank Stadium.  

What began as Kennesaw Junior College was formally created on Oct. 9, 1963, when The Board of Regents charted three new junior colleges. Over the years, the university has provided a path to college to many, including minorities, who otherwise could not afford to obtain higher education. 

The governments of Marietta and Cobb County sold bonds to pay for the new college — Marietta issued $425,000 in bonds and  the Cobb County Board of Education issued $1.925 million. Cobb voters also supported a referendum for public funding of the new school, and ground was broken by the Board of Regents in November 1964 at Steve Frey Road and Frey Lake Road.

The new school operated for its first 12 years as Kennesaw Junior College, until Regents approved the name “Kennesaw College” in 1977, as part of the college’s conversion to a four-year status. In 1988, on the college’s 25th anniversary, the institution became Kennesaw State College. In 1996, as student growth and academic programs offered at the regional institution continued to grow, Regents designated the school “Kennesaw State University.” 

KSU’s campus has expanded along with its growth — when the campus opened in 1967, the eight buildings totaled 182,899 square feet of office, classroom and laboratory space. Today, 90 structures, including three stadiums, four parking decks and on-campus residential student housing grace the campus, providing more than 5.9 million square feet of living and academic space.


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