Kennesaw State remembers Foundation Trustee Emeritus Fred Bentley Sr.

KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 7, 2019

Passionate supporter of KSU established rare book museum, endowed scholarships

Fred Bentley
Fred D. Bentley Sr.

The Kennesaw State University community is mourning the loss of KSU Foundation Trustee Emeritus and university benefactor Fred D. Bentley Sr., who passed away on Oct. 4 at the age of 92.

Bentley made numerous contributions to Kennesaw State, including his generous donations to establish and develop the Mr. and Mrs. Fred D. Bentley Sr. Rare Book Museum. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1997, then in an emeritus role until his passing.

Committed to helping students succeed, Bentley endowed the Jane McNeel Bentley Scholarship, Sara Moss Bentley Scholarship and Fred D. Bentley Sr. Scholarship at Kennesaw State. Bentley, a longtime Cobb County attorney and former Georgia House and Senate member, received the Clarice C. Bagwell Medal for Distinguished Service from the KSU Foundation in 1992.

“We are saddened by Mr. Bentley’s passing, and we extend our condolences to his family,” said Kennesaw State University President Pamela Whitten. “Mr. Bentley was a pillar of the community and lived a life of generosity and caring. His incredible spirit, loyalty and enthusiasm will be greatly missed.” 

An avid book collector, Bentley donated a large number of 19th- and early 20th-century first editions to Kennesaw State in the late 1980s as the foundation of the Bentley Rare Book Gallery collection. He also donated paintings and other works of art, giving a total of more than 400 items to the university’s Zuckerman Museum of Art.

The book collection grew and developed into the 2017 opening of the Bentley Rare Book Museum, the first rare book museum in metro Atlanta. Today, the Bentley Museum houses more than 10,000 items, supporting teaching at the university through incorporation into course instruction and assignments, as well as lectures, workshops and exhibitions.

“Fred Bentley was passionate about sharing his loves of history and the arts with students,” said Catherine Lewis, assistant vice president of Museums, Archives and Rare Books. “The museum named for him is a fantastic educational resource for KSU students, faculty and anyone in the community, and Mr. Bentley’s generosity made it all possible.”

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 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