Kennesaw State receives
$10 million for Honors College

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jan 8, 2020

Rosemary and John Brown gift is largest in university history

Kennesaw State is receiving a $10 million gift from Rosemary and John Brown to establish an endowment matching fund to benefit the University’s Honors College.

The Browns’ contribution is the largest from a single donor in Kennesaw State University’s history and will be used to match other donors’ endowments to support the College in perpetuity. In recognition of the gift, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today approved that the College will now be known as the Keeping Sights Upward (KSU) Journey Honors College, reflecting the Browns’ passion for encouraging students to focus on achieving their goals.

Rosemary and John Brown

“The generosity of Rosemary and John Brown will have a transformational effect for the entire University,” said KSU President Dr. Pamela Whitten. “It aligns perfectly with KSU’s guiding principal of putting students first and will provide life-changing opportunities for generations of exceptional students.”

Kennesaw State’s Honors College facilitates small Honors sections of core courses in addition to offering special topics courses, interdisciplinary seminars, colloquia courses, and a variety of applied learning experiences in order to create a community within the University for highly motivated, academically talented students. Offering an intellectually enriching environment, the Honors College provides students with enhanced academic experiences, including community engagement, leadership, undergraduate research, and global education offerings to support their development as individuals and contributing members of their various communities.

“KSU’s Honors students are leaders and determined individuals who are motivated by their desire to reach beyond expectations,” said Honors College Dean Rita Bailey. “We are grateful to Rosemary and John Brown, who share our vision for expanding the College to offer more high-achieving students the opportunity to realize their goals and leave a lasting impact on the world.”

Rosemary and John Brown are active philanthropists, particularly as strong supporters of higher education. John Brown was the longtime CEO and chairman of the board of the Stryker Corporation, a leading medical device company based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rosemary Brown retired after a 30-year career as a math teacher and is an active member of KSU’s Honors College Advisory Board.

“By investing in the Kennesaw State University Honors College, we are helping these students create the relationships and have the experiences that will allow them to change the course of their lives and the future of our community,” Rosemary Brown said. “As an educator, I experienced no better feeling than seeing the light bulb turn on in a student’s mind. Through this gift to KSU, we know we are giving students the opportunity to have that ‘aha moment’ in an educational sense and a philanthropic sense.”

John Brown came from humble beginnings, growing up on a Tennessee farm during the Depression, to become a successful businessman who built Stryker into a multi-billion-dollar company. He attributes his success to the quality education he received, adding that his family’s gift to the Honors College is “a great opportunity to invest in the next generation of student leaders at KSU.”

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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