Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens Announces Plans to Step Down

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 14, 2017

Interim President Named and National Search for Next President Announced

Sam Olens
Sam Olens

Today, Kennesaw State University (KSU) President Sam Olens has announced he will step down as president effective Feb. 15, 2018. Olens has served as president since Nov. 1, 2016.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley recognized Olens’ service to Kennesaw State University, saying, “Sam is a truly dedicated public servant to the State of Georgia and has contributed much of his life for the betterment of Georgians. I thank Sam for his service to Kennesaw State University and the University System of Georgia. On behalf of the University System, we wish Sam and his family the very best.”

In preparation for the transition, Wrigley has named Dr. Ken Harmon interim president of Kennesaw State University. Harmon currently serves as provost and vice president for academic affairs for the institution. Prior to this role, Harmon served as dean of KSU’s Coles College of Business and has been at KSU since 2006.

“With more than a decade of experience in leadership roles at KSU, Dr. Harmon will ensure a smooth transition,” said Wrigley. “We appreciate Dr. Harmon stepping forward to serve KSU’s students, faculty and staff.”

Meanwhile, the University System will immediately begin a national search for the next president of Kennesaw State University. A campus-based presidential search committee will be formed and announced. Members of the committee will include representatives from KSU faculty, staff, the student body, alumni and KSU’s local community and will be appointed by current Board of Regents Chairman C. Thomas Hopkins, Jr., MD, Chairman-elect James M. Hull and Chancellor Wrigley. Nominations for the search committee should be submitted to the Board of Regents.

The campus-based presidential search committee will be responsible for the search and screening of candidates. Since the authority to name a president resides with the chancellor and the board, a Regents’ Special Committee will also be formed and comprised of Board of Regents members. At the conclusion of the campus committee’s work, the campus committee will forward for consideration to the Regents’ Special Committee the credentials of three to five unranked candidates.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. 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 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit