Kennesaw State welcomes new chief human resources officer

Karen McDonnell
Karen McDonnell

Karen McDonnell brings proven track record in HR administration

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 2, 2018) — Kennesaw State University has appointed veteran human resources executive Karen McDonnell as assistant vice president and chief human resources officer, effective January 2.

McDonnell will oversee all aspects of human resources strategy and administration for the more than 7,000 Kennesaw State faculty members, staff and student workers. She will be responsible for HR units handling hiring, compensation, benefits, policies and procedures, and employee information, training and data services. McDonnell will report to Julie Peterson, the University’s chief business officer.

“Karen McDonnell’s strong track record of leadership in HR functions and ability to design and implement strategic objectives makes her a great fit for this role,” Peterson said. “Karen will help guide Kennesaw State in continuing to attract, develop and retain a talented and diverse faculty and staff to support the University’s growth and evolving needs.”

McDonnell comes to KSU after serving as senior vice president of human resources at PruittHealth, a post-acute care company headquartered in Norcross. She has held a number of positions in human resources, primarily in the healthcare industry with organizations such as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Piedmont Healthcare. McDonnell has experience in human resources consulting, talent acquisition, human resource information systems (HRIS), compensation, benefits and organizational development.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join the staff at Kennesaw State University,” McDonnell said. “KSU has an excellent reputation, and I look forward to being proactive in carrying out the University’s vision and goals.”

McDonnell earned a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration from Stonehill College and is in the process of completing her master’s degree in human resources. She has three children — Michael, a Cobb County police officer; Jillian, a graduate school student pursuing a master’s in special education; and Ryan, a senior at Harrison High School.

– Paul Floeckher


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