Kennesaw State officially opens permanent site in Italy’s Tuscan region

Kennesaw State Georgia Montepulciano, Italy.JPG

 Photo: Dr. Papp celebrates with Montepulicano's Mayor Rossi, center, and Andrea…

Georgia (Jun 30, 2015)

Restored fortress in Montepulciano is University’s first international education facility
KENNESAW, Ga. (June 30, 2015)Kennesaw State University has officially opened its first permanent international education site in a historic 13th century fortress in Montepulciano, Italy, allowing the University to conduct year-round academic programs there.
A ribbon cutting, banquet, tours and wine tasting marked the official opening of the University’s International Programs in Tuscany at the Antica Fortezza Poliziana, where Kennesaw State occupies 4,000 square feet.  The second floor of the Fortezza was renovated to accommodate six classrooms, an apartment for a director, meeting space and offices to support study abroad programs and courses in visual and culinary arts, history, literature, Italian language and political science.
While the University has conducted summer academic programs in the region for nearly 20 years in a rented school, the new permanent space will allow it to offer programs during the fall and spring terms as well — the first of which will launch in fall 2015. Up to 25 first-year students will spend seven weeks at KSU and seven weeks in Montepulciano taking general education courses. They also will be matched with career mentors who will foster their interest in global engagement. 
“This is a historic moment for Kennesaw State University and its international education programs,” President Daniel S. Papp said during the opening ceremonies.  “This facility expands the academic options and cultural horizons for our students as they become engaged, global citizens. We are honored to be a part of the town of Montepulciano and the Tuscan region and humbled by the warm reception we have received here.”
Under a 25-year rental agreement approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in November 2012 and funded by $520,000 from the Kennesaw State Foundation and private donors, the University shares the Fortezza with the Consorzio del Vino Nobile, a consortium of 80 wine growers that partnered to complete the renovation. The building’s common spaces will be used for cultural programs open to the local community.  
Montepulicano Mayor Andrea Rossi welcomed Kennesaw State officials, trustees, students and guests to the grand opening of the Fortezza, which has undergone decades of restoration since it was last used as a silk factory in the late 19th century.
“We are so proud that Kennesaw State has joined with the people of Montepulciano and our friends throughout the region to become a part of the continuing history of this important landmark,” Rossi said, noting the history of the site now occupied by the Fortezza. “We know that this site was inhabited more than 2,000 years ago and became the site of a strategically important fortezza in 1261 and an industrial site in the late 1800s. Now, it has new life and promise for the future.”
The Fortezza project has relied on critical partnerships that allow the University to establish a footprint in the Tuscan region and across Europe as well, said Lance Askildson, vice provost and Kennesaw State’s chief international officer.
“This new site exemplifies the value and power of international collaboration and local relationship building over time,” Askildson said. “Montepulciano has been a staple of Kennesaw State’s international education programs for more than 15 years, but what really stands out is the level of community engagement and reciprocity that we have developed with our partners and dear friends here in the Commune di Montepulciano.  KSU’s presence and investment in Montepulciano is built upon a mutual regard and trust that has been cultivated between our two communities and has allowed each of us to learn from each other and grow.”
Askildson also announced the formation of a faculty advisory board for Montepulciano that will be coordinated by the University’s Global Affairs Division, which he heads.  The board is composed of representatives from each of Kennesaw State’s 13 colleges.
“What we have started in Montepulciano will allow us over time to combine resources in order to scale up to as many as 500 students a year from various programs, expanding the Kennesaw State footprint here, throughout the region and into other European cities,” he said.
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