Kennesaw State welcomes newest Owls at Convocation

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 16, 2021

Freshman Jackson Wright already is feeling at home at Kennesaw State University after moving into on-campus housing on Friday and attending the annual First-Year Convocation on Sunday.

Wright joined fellow first-year students at the University’s Convocation Center for the annual ceremony that officially begins students’ academic journey at KSU. He is one of more than 8,700 first-year students Kennesaw State is welcoming for the fall 2021 semester, according to preliminary data. (See the chart below for more about KSU’s Class of 2025.)

“It’s nice to be able to come to this event, to meet new people and have some fun,” said Wright, who is from Columbus, Ga., and plans to major in sport management. “I like it here already.”

Convocation 2021
Kennesaw State Interim President Kathy Schwaig welcomed the new Owls, telling them that “these next few years at KSU will bring some of the best memories of your lives.” She encouraged the students to explore the many activities and opportunities Kennesaw State offers and make the most of their college experience.

“This is an exciting time, and I congratulate you on becoming a part of the Owl family,” Schwaig said. “You will learn the things that will help you build a career and improve the lives of others through your education and innovation, and you will benefit from a network of talented students and alumni along the way. I look forward to seeing what all of you accomplish.”

KSU senior and Student Government Association (SGA) president Amani Johnson followed Schwaig at the podium and advised the first-year students that “your time here really is what you make it.” Johnson came to Kennesaw State as a scholarship student-athlete on the women’s basketball team, then expanded her experiences by joining a sorority and joining the SGA.  

“I really ‘found my wings,’ as they say, by getting involved,” Johnson said. “I never thought I would be in this position or even be the person I am today. We have something for everybody here, and I hope you all find something to get involved in so you can see what KSU can do for you.”

Each student attending Convocation received a KSU pin to “wear with pride as a new member of Owl Nation,” explained Interim Provost Ivan Pulinkala. The students also stood and recited the Owl Creed, a commitment to academic excellence and personal integrity that every member of the Kennesaw State community is expected to follow.

Along with the encouraging words, the Convocation ceremony had a festive atmosphere, with the first-year students posing for photos with the University’s mascot Scrappy the Owl and being led by the KSU cheerleaders in singing the fight song. They also learned an Owl’s signature chant, as students on the two sides of the Convocation Center stands alternated in yelling, “Hooty! … Hoo!”

“College is the start of a new chapter in life, and I know that could be very scary, so I feel like having these events can bring people out of their shell,” said Lindsey Branche, a first-year student from Covington planning to major in nursing. “Everybody has been very nice and welcoming.”

Class of 2025 (preliminary numbers)*
• KSU’s first-year student enrollment of 8,705 is an 11.4% increase from 7,815 in fall 2020
• 8,230 are Georgia residents, representing 136 of the state’s 159 counties
• Average GPA of 3.35
• 59 countries are represented by international first-year students
• 4,566 first-year students are female (52.5%) and 4,139 are male (47.5%)
• 39.3% identify as first-generation college students, meaning their parents/guardians do not have bachelor’s degrees
• The first-year enrollment is diverse: White 43.7%, Black 29%, Hispanic or Latino 14.6%, Two or More Races 5%, Asian 4.8%, Unknown/Undeclared 1.7%, International 0.9%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.2%, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0.1%
* Data is preliminary. Official fall semester enrollment numbers will be validated later this semester.

– Paul Floeckher

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