Kennesaw State University designated a ‘Purple Heart University’

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First University System of Georgia institution to be honoredKENNESAW, Ga. (April 21, 2016)…

Georgia (Apr 21, 2016)First University System of Georgia institution to be honored

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 21, 2016) — In a ceremony on the Kennesaw Campus Green today, Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp signed a proclamation in recognition of the school’s “Purple Heart Designated University” status. Kennesaw State is the first University System of Georgia institution to achieve the distinction by The Military Order of the Purple Heart.

In bestowing this honor on Kennesaw State, The Military Order of the Purple Heart recognized the University for “its outstanding service to military and veteran students and families.” More than 2,000 veterans and family members are enrolled at KSU, including 1,100 who receive VA benefits.

“On a college campus,” Papp said, “we deeply appreciate what the American military has provided for this country – among other things, the ability to say what we want, read what we want, think what we want and debate what we want – without fear of political retribution or social retribution.”

Georgia National Guard Spc. Kit Lowe, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, presented Papp with a flag emblazoned with the Purple Heart emblem and the words “honoring America’s combat wounded veterans.” Papp announced that Kennesaw State will observe Purple Heart Day annually on April 21, when the Purple Heart flag will fly on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military award and is earned when military personnel are wounded or killed while serving during combat. Brig. Gen. Thomas Carden Jr., Commanding General of the Georgia Army National Guard, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

“Dr. Papp and the entire staff here at Kennesaw State University have made this university a leader in reaching out to veterans and those currently serving,” Carden said.

During the Purple Heart Ceremony, the University’s Office of Military and Veterans Services rededicated a memorial to Purple Heart recipient Army 1st Lt. Jonathan “J.P.” Walsh, a 2008 Kennesaw State graduate who lost his life in action on April 22, 2012, while serving with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan.

In 2012, KSU planted an Autumn Flame Red Maple dedicated to Walsh’s memory on the east side of the Campus Green. A permanent stone marker with a plaque has been added under his tree.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart was formed in 1931 and remains the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization composed strictly of combat veterans.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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.


— Robert Godlewski

Photo by David Caselli 



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