KENNESAW — Dr. Betty Siegel is president emeritus of Kennesaw State University, and while it’s a position that may be considered honorary at other universities, it’s a role she takes to heart.
“They’ve given me an office, and so I go in,” Siegel said.
The former KSU president said she’s involved with the university’s international outreach and has traveled around the world, getting to know leaders in the U.S. and abroad.
“It gives us an opportunity to share what we’re doing with what they’re doing, and we’re finding that we’re on the same page — they want our students to be people of intellect, but they want us to be thoughtful people. Everywhere we go, they talk about the importance of being a leader of moral standards,” Siegel said.
In addition to serving as an adviser and consultant in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, Siegel also serves as the distinguished chair of the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character.
Siegel believes character is an important part of education.
“If all we’re getting is a bunch of information, God help us,” she said. “You got to have something of heart, something to give to others, to show by inspiration how much you love them. I think Kennesaw (State) tries to do that.”
When she’s not representing KSU in an official capacity, Siegel said she and her husband, Joel Siegel, enjoy traveling. She said they hope to return to some of the international destinations they have previously visited, including New Zealand, Germany and South Africa.
“Certainly South Africa is a place in our heart,” she said. “We’ve got friends that are in the International Alliance for Invitational Education, and it’s a program that deals with trust, respect, optimism and intentionality — not just what you know, but what you believe about working with people and what you believe about using yourself as an instrument for good.”
Siegel said she has found in her travels that those who make the biggest difference are those who believe deeply in putting others above themselves.
“We think of our friends that we’ve made all over the world — every one of them has something to contribute to making life better for others,” she said. “They often put themselves in short supply so that they can be in long supply to help others. When you get people like that in your life, it really matters. They’re not in it for themselves — they’re in it for helping the world. So we’ve been blessed.”