Fundraising success supports rapid growth of Kennesaw State University

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 17, 2021

Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State University’s tremendous growth in enrollment, degree programs and academic recognitions is being matched in the area of fundraising, to the direct benefit of thousands of students.

Since 2019, the Kennesaw State University Foundation has seen total fundraising from private sources skyrocket to more than $60 million, more than tripling any other two-year period in KSU history. This growth in fundraising has allowed the University to support a range of benefits for students — most notably, scholarships.  

Over the past three years, the value of scholarships funded by the Kennesaw State University Foundation have almost doubled. Student scholarship spending for 2021 is $3.3 million compared to $1.7 million in 2018. That translates to nearly 5 percent of Kennesaw State students — more than 2,000 people — earning a scholarship backed by the Foundation in 2021.

Kennesaw State University’s vice president for advancement, Lance Burchett, notes, “The work of our trustees, Foundation staff and the support from University leadership has helped us share Kennesaw State’s success story, which has inspired a rapidly growing group of supporters. This dynamic team has led to the doubling of the KSU endowment in only two years – to around $100 million – simply breathtaking!”

Longtime KSU Foundation trustee and university supporter Dr. Bob M. Prillaman gives credit to KSU’s administrative leadership, the advancement staff led by Burchett, as well as fellow members of the board of trustees and the community.

“Virtually everywhere you look at Kennesaw State, there are stories of accomplishment, and that is why the financial support is growing,” Prillaman said. “The credibility, passion, and trusteeship of the Foundation’s leaders Trent Turk and Steven Cadranel has really made the difference in philanthropic influence.”

Some fundraising highlights for Kennesaw State include:

  • Fundraising for FY21 reached 217 percent of its goals.
  • The number of proposals for grants of $50,000 or more has risen to 129 this year, compared to just 28 in FY18.
  • Major gifts are 107 this year, compared to 54 in FY18.
  • KSU’s administrative costs to raise a dollar have plummeted from 41 cents in FY19 to 15 cents in FY21.

Trenton D. Turk, chairman of the KSU Foundation and former chairman of the SPSU Foundation, said an active and dedicated board of trustees has helped the KSU Foundation keep up with the needs of a rapidly growing university.

“Our trustees are not only financial supporters of Kennesaw State themselves, but they are effective in widening the circle of donors by advocating for the University and its mission to provide a world-class education and produce groundbreaking research,” Turk said. “Our 57 trustees are dedicated to furthering the mission of KSU through contributing their time, talents and treasures. Many of our major donations originated directly from one of our trustees or from a contact established by one of our trustees.”

Kennesaw State interim President Kathy Schwaig said private funding is important to meeting the University’s commitment to undergraduate education, increasing opportunities for graduate study and undertaking needed research.

“The advancement team under Lance’s leadership, working with an outstanding board of trustees and following the lead set by (former KSU President) Pamela Whitten, have played a huge role in Kennesaw State’s success,” Schwaig said.

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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