KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 10, 2021
Adrian Epps was installed Wednesday as the Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Endowed Dean’s Chair in a celebration held at Kennesaw State University.
As the endowed chair, Epps will be able to bolster education research and student and teacher opportunities. The endowed dean’s chair was made possible by a $1 million contribution from Chantal and Tommy Bagwell.
Two generations of Bagwells have provided support to Kennesaw State University and its faculty, staff, students and alumni. The Bagwell College of Education was named for Clarice and Leland Bagwell in 1996. The College is housed in the Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Education Building, named after Clarice and Leland Bagwell’s son and daughter-in-law, and Epps’ appointment to the chair on Wednesday is a result of the continued generosity of Tommy and Chantal.
“Your family means a great deal to us as an institution, and we are forever grateful for the investment that you have put into this institution,” Kennesaw State Interim President Kat Schwaig said. Reflecting on her previous roles at KSU, Schwaig noted, “It’s an honor to be a dean, but it’s an honor also to carry the name of an individual who invests in this place.”
Tommy Bagwell said the more he had gotten to know Epps, the more impressed he became with him. He said Epps’ background in science and his reputation as a visionary throughout his career in education foreshadows a bright future for the Bagwell College with him at the helm.
“I think he’s a great fit for KSU, and I’m optimistic that we will be very proud to have him as that chair,” Tommy Bagwell said.
Epps said being named as the Chantal and Tommy Bagwell Endowed Dean's Chair is “about getting the work done.”
He said it was his goal to place Bagwell College at the center of influencing student success in education across Georgia and beyond. Epps said the key to reaching that goal is innovation, partnerships and producing future-ready educators to fill needs in the state.
“I really do believe that this college is one of the best institutions in this country to be at the epicenter of changing what happens in education,” Epps said.
Lance Burchett, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the KSU Foundation, said the Bagwells' gift will have a lasting positive impact on the College.
“An endowed chair is an academic position supported by earnings from an endowment. These funds supplement and support the chair holder’s teaching and research endeavors and are essential, dare I say, critical for attracting and retaining exceptional faculty and academic leadership,” Burchett said.
Epps was named dean of the Bagwell College in May after previously serving as interim dean for a year. A recognized education leader in Georgia and beyond, Epps served as an associate dean in KSU’s College of Science and Mathematics for 12 years before serving as the interim provost and vice president of academic affairs at Dalton State College. Prior to joining KSU, Epps worked for Atlanta Public Schools as a high school science teacher, middle school assistant principal and various district-level positions.
The investiture ceremony was also attended by the KSU Foundation board and board of trustees, KSU staff, leading education officials and family and friends of Epps.
– Thomas Hartwell
Photos by Judith Pishnery
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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 kennesaw.edu.