Howard family finds worthy cause in helping Kennesaw State students

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 19, 2021

Frank and Melodie Howard
Melodie and Frank Howard

As an executive at Atlanta automotive giant Genuine Parts Company, Frank Howard’s awareness of Kennesaw State University grew when he began hiring its accounting and information technology graduates.

“I was very impressed with them and their work ethic,” he said. “They just wanted a chance.”

Howard, a native of Bloomington, Illinois, saw some of his own life story in those Kennesaw State graduates. He had worked his way through college at Illinois State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Howard moved to Cobb County in 1988 and spent 39 years with Genuine Parts, retiring in 2016 as senior vice president and treasurer.

Howard and his wife Melodie live in Kennesaw and have been actively giving back to the community for decades. A major part of that is the creation of the Frank and Melodie Howard Endowed Scholarship. It’s the first scholarship for Keeping Sights Upward (KSU) Journey Honors College based solely on the financial need of the recipient. Students majoring in any subject are able to apply.

The Howards’ $100,000 gift will grow to a $250,000 contribution through a 150 percent matching program made possible by John and Rosemary Brown and the Kennesaw State University Foundation. “With the match, it just seemed like a no-brainer” to establish the scholarship, Howard said.

The Howards know that many of KSU’s students are the first in their families to attend college, are often balancing work and study, and some face serious financial obstacles to continuing their education.

“If we can make it easier or help somebody who wants to make a difference and move ahead in the world, that’s what we wanted to do,” Howard said.

The creation of the Frank and Melodie Howard Endowed Scholarship is just one of a half-dozen gifts the couple has made to benefit Kennesaw State students. The Howards’ commitment to KSU extends beyond dollars. Frank serves on the Board of Trustees for the Kennesaw State University Foundation, bringing his accounting and management expertise to both the investment committee and the audit, governance and ethics committee.

Howard credits friend and fellow Trustee George Kalafut for encouraging and bringing him onto the board as well. “George was looking to step back a bit, but he’s just as involved as he has ever been,” Howard said.

The Howards said they see supporting Kennesaw State as a sound investment in the community and encourage others to support the University as well.

“At KSU you can see the results of your contributions and know that they are making a difference,” Howard said.

– Gary Tanner

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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