Kennesaw State honors South Cobb Rotary Club’s generous financial support

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 18, 2017

Organization has provided scholarships to dozens of students over past 40 years

Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens paid tribute to the South Cobb Rotary Club and its President Darlene Duke for the group’s steadfast commitment over the past 40 years to fund dozens of scholarships for Cobb County students and various faculty projects.

Rotary Club

Olens praised the organization, which has been in existence nearly 80 years, for living up to its motto, “Service above Self.”

“The South Cobb Rotary Club has been helping Kennesaw State University for more than half our life, since we were only chartered in 1963,” said Olens, who addressed the club’s scholarship recognition meeting at the Presbyterian Village in Austell. “There may be other civic organizations with more members, but there are none with a greater heart than the South Cobb Rotary Club.

“This partnership between us not only strengthens Kennesaw State, but the whole community,” Olens said. “You can be proud of the high degree of service by your club.”

Kennesaw State Trustee Bob Prillaman, who is also a member of the club, presented Kennesaw State’s Owl Award to Duke on behalf of Kennesaw State University Foundation President Jo Ann Chitty, who was unable to attend.

“Jo Ann is in the hospital today, but it was through her efforts after hearing me brag about the South Cobb Rotary Club’s scholarships to Kennesaw State for years to have this event today,” said Prillaman, who along with his wife Lil are longtime community leaders and loyal supporters of Kennesaw State’s WellStar School of Nursing. In August 2010, KSU’s new Health Sciences building was dedicated in honor of the Prillamans.

“It makes me emotional that she is not here to see all this.”

In accepting the Owl Award, Duke noted the contributions of her fellow members over the years to help Kennesaw State students continue their college education and become productive members of the community.  

“We are a small, but mighty club,” said Duke. “This award to the South Cobb Rotary Club recognizes the work of past and current Rotarians,” which she said would be continued by future Rotarians, as well.

Duke then introduced the club’s newest scholarship recipients, College of the Arts first-year student Brianna McBride, and Chris Hewitt, who becomes the first nursing student from the WellStar College of Health and Human Services to receive a scholarship from the South Cobb Rotary Club. McBride is the recipient of a $2,000 scholarship, while Hewitt received a $5,000 scholarship.

Rotary Club scholars

“Thank you so much,” said McBride, who already is working as a graphic artist. “This is such an honor! This is beyond anything I ever expected.”

Hewitt, who is a sergeant in the Atlanta Police Department, plans to become an acute care practitioner once he completes his degree in nursing.

“It is a great privilege and an honor to accept this scholarship from the South Cobb Rotary Club,” Hewitt said.

– Robert S. Godlewski
Photos by David Caselli

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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