Kennesaw State welcomes Class of 2022 at Convocation


First-year students make up diverse class of learners

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 13, 2018) — A Kennesaw State tradition, Convocation kicks off a busy week of welcome activities for first-year students.

As new students filtered in, the pep rally atmosphere of Convocation filled the arena with chants of K-S-U as Scrappy led the crowds in celebrating first-year students. The ceremony began with a procession of faculty dressed in academic regalia. New students learned from the university’s top administrators and others about the importance of a college education, the responsibilities of an educated citizen, and the value of a degree from Kennesaw State University.

KSU Convocation 2018

University President Pamela Whitten presided over her first convocation since being appointed KSU president and shared that excitement with the students. “I’ve been at Kennesaw for 22 days so we’re all new here,” she joked.

Describing the class of 2022, Whitten said, “We have quite a diverse mix of students at Kennesaw State,” Whitten said. “This is important because, through our differences, we can learn from one another and come together as one community.”

The incoming class represent a diverse student body and Whitten pointed out several highlights about the group of nearly 5,000 first-year students. 

  • Underrepresented populations make up more than 40 percent of KSU’s freshman class.
  • Slightly more men than women are enrolled for the fall semester, with women representing 48 percent of the incoming class.
  • One-third of the Class of 2022 identify as first generation -- those who are first in their immediate families to seek college degrees.
  • About 84 percent of KSU’s incoming class reside in Georgia. Geographical representation stretches across 121 of Georgia’s 159 counties.
  • Out-of-state students may only represent 15 percent of the newest class, but they come from 38 states in the continental U.S. as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. About 3 percent of the incoming class are international students.
  • The newest class also represents nearly 525 high schools and have an average GPA of 3.38.

Following Whitten’s remarks, Matthew Hunnicutt, Student Government Association president, welcomed the students to Kennesaw and encouraged them to embrace all the university has to offer.

“You’re all 21st century students and this is a 21st century university. Kennesaw has a place for each and every one of you,” he said. “Welcome to KSU!”

KSU Convocation 2018

Convocation keynote speaker Ashley Nealy, a KSU alumna who holds both a Bachelor and Master in Information Systems, spoke about the importance of embracing changes in college. Nealy leads the Web Team Lead for the U.S. Department of Treasury in the office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

“A lot of things are going to change for you in college, but something to remember is that the way you change will impact others,” she said. Nealy recently created a fund at KSU to encourage more students to pursue STEM.

She gave new students four tips on things to change to make the most of their college experiences:

  1. Change how you treat others.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make new friends.
  3. Change your path if you find a new one. Study abroad, volunteer and learn new skills.
  4. Let KSU change your life.

“You’re going to change your life at KSU,” she told the class of 2022. “Congratulations on taking that first step.”

To conclude the ceremony, Whitten led the students in reciting the Owl Creed, a commitment to academic excellence and personal integrity that each member of the Kennesaw State community is expected to follow. Students were invited to sign poster-sized copies of the Owl Creed as they left the Convocation Center.

KSU Convocation 2018

Incoming freshman, C.J. McDonald was excited to start at Kennesaw. “I went on a tour here a few years ago and I knew I had to be here. I’m excited to start the semester,” he said. He plans to study business.

New students and friends, Morgan Parker and Jasmine Mitchell, both had KSU as their first-choice school and are excited but nervous about studying English.

“I’m ready for classes to start but not sure what to expect. But I’m excited!” Mitchell said. “I knew I wanted to come to Kennesaw because the campus is just perfect for me.”

“Exactly,” Parker agreed. “What I love about Kennesaw is that I get a big university feel while still being close to home. It’s the best of both worlds and the perfect place for me.”

– Andrea Judy

Photos 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