Kennesaw State names first Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement


Charles Ross to bring nearly 30 years of academic and industry experience to new role Click here…

Georgia (Apr 14, 2015)Charles Ross to bring nearly 30 years of academic and industry experience to new role

Click here for a downloadable photo of Charles Ross 

KENNESAW, Ga.  (April 14, 2015) — Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp has named Charles Ross, director of Startup Networks for the Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech, as Kennesaw State’s first vice president for economic development and community engagement. Ross will assume the role on July 1.  

The new cabinet-level officer position at Kennesaw State was added to bring leadership to the University’s economic development and community engagement efforts, and will bring coordination and synergy to several other related areas of operation within the University as well. The position will report directly to President Papp.

“Charles will be a valuable asset to the cabinet, and he will provide indispensable expertise in working with business and industry,” said Papp. “His keen grasp of community engagement, and the opportunities that such engagement presents, will help the University leverage our relationships, create more job opportunities for our students, and significantly enhance our public service mission.” 

Ross brings a wealth of academic and industry experience to Kennesaw State. He joined Georgia Tech in 2005 as a venture catalyst in the Advanced Technology Development Center, and became general manager and director of Entrepreneurship Services at the Center in 2008, before assuming his position as director of Startup Networks in the Enterprise Innovation Institute in 2009. He also worked in strategic investments, consulting and business development for more than 20 years in Chicago and Washington, D.C., for companies such as Ameritech Development and General Electric Medical Systems.

At Kennesaw State, Ross will serve as the University’s chief officer focused on deploying resources to aid economic development and expand relationships with off-campus communities. Ross will work closely with the senior vice provost to generate new opportunities for the University’s research centers and institutes.

Ross also will oversee and manage Kennesaw State’s Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Government Relations. He will chair the KSU Economic Development Task Force and serve as the University’s chief liaison to the Cobb County Chamber’s Competitive EDGE Project.

Ross was selected among a pool of more than 100 candidates who vied for the position in a national search chaired by Ken Harmon, Kennesaw State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Ross also currently serves as director for the Center for Working Families, director for the National Business Incubation Association and advisor for Neighborhood Nexus. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MBA from Indiana University.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50-largest public universities in the country. 



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