Trustees rally behind KSU's athletics capital campaign

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 21, 2023

KSU Foundation trustees provide transformational gifts for new athletics facilities.

As Kennesaw State Athletics prepares to enter Conference USA, it’s also embarking on its most ambitious fundraising effort in program history. Inspired by the trajectory of the athletics program at KSU and the national recognition it’s given the University in recent years, KSU trustees are rallying behind the program to help fund the construction of three new world-class facilities for student-athletes. 

Mike Leven

Mike Leven

Mike Leven has been closely involved with Kennesaw State University for several years through his involvement and philanthropic support of the Michael J. Coles College of Business

At the KSU Foundation Retreat earlier this year, Leven committed $200,000 to the renovation of KSU’s baseball stadium and challenged other trustees and campus leaders to help KSU Athletics raise the remaining funds. 

“When I found out how much they needed to meet their goal, I was sitting at the head table and started scratching numbers on my paper to figure out how we could get there,” Leven explained. “I couldn’t sit back knowing we were so close to accomplishing this goal—we had already raised so much, so I was willing to take the risk to see if others would help us get there.” 

KSU President Kathy S. Schwaig, Director of Athletics Milton Overton, and trustees Steven Cadranel, Mel Clemmons, Richard Cox, Rob Leven, Beth Lowry, Doug Shore and Dave Walens were among those who answered Leven’s call. 

Don Davidson

Don Davidson has strong ties to KSU. A graduate of Southern Technical Institute, he served as a guest lecturer and a member of several advisory boards before becoming a trustee and Chairman of the SPSU Foundation. 

“I believe the evolution of the consolidated institution is stronger for the students, the alumni and the community than either university could have achieved independently,” said Davidson. 

Don and his wife, Toni, have a history of supporting KSU. Their daughter graduated from SPSU with a degree in Construction Management. The couple now has a scholarship established to provide financial support for KSU’s College of Architecture and Construction Management students. 

Their most recent gift to the University is a $100,000 commitment to a new sports performance complex. 

“Strong athletic programs not only benefit the athletes themselves but also help to create a well-rounded environment for all students, alumni and the broader community,” Davidson explained. “This new facility will certainly be a catalyst to help attract not only a wider range of student-athletes but also help to keep local athletes closer to home.” 

Don Davidson

Frank Howard

Frank Howard

Frank Howard, a longtime supporter of KSU, said his experience with Director of Athletics Milton Overton and several coaches inspired him to give back to Kennesaw State Athletics. 

“I’ve been really impressed with their entire leadership team,” explained Howard. “I could tell they genuinely care about the students and ensuring they get everything they need.” 

Frank and his wife Melodie’s recent gift of $100,000 to the Athletics Capital Campaign also helped fund the baseball stadium renovation project. Recognizing the challenges brought by entering a new conference, Howard said he wanted to play a role in making the transition easier. 

“A newly outfitted baseball stadium fits the championship-caliber standards the University has set for itself. It will help us recruit and retain top talent while also creating an atmosphere that people will want to keep coming back to.” 

Mike Leven, Don Davidson and Frank Howard agreed the timing to support KSU Athletics could not be better. The school has gained national exposure in recent years and will continue to gain recognition as it enters a new era in Division I sports.

– By Elyssa Reed
Photos by Judith Pishnery and Jason Getz

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