Kennesaw State president endows scholarship to honor her parents

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 19, 2022

Growing up in a small town in Texas, Kennesaw State University President Kathy Schwaig knew one thing for certain – she was going to get a college degree. 

Schwaig, who came from humble beginnings, said that her father had dreamed of going to college despite his parents' wanting him to become a truck driver. Ed Stewart achieved his goal. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and became a minister. Schwaig’s mom, Nola, taught Sunday school and shared her husband’s passion for academics. 

At every opportunity, the Stewarts reinforced with their own children the notion that college was the gateway to a bright future, Schwaig said. Beyond their positive reinforcements, they budgeted vigorously to pay all undergraduate expenses for their four children so they could focus primarily on academics. Their efforts paid off as each earned, at least, a master’s degree.

Now, Schwaig is paying tribute to her parents through the newly established Ed and Nola Stewart Endowed Scholarship. The $100,000 gift will create a scholarship to help reduce the financial burden for students at Kennesaw State. 

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“My siblings and I had summer jobs, but my parents paid all of our undergraduate expenses,” she said. “Having benefited from their sacrifices, I know firsthand just how valuable it is to receive unwavering support. I hope that recipients of this scholarship share my experience as they pursue their passions at KSU, and that others who share my parents’ passion for higher education find ways to give back.”

Schwaig, who became Kennesaw State’s sixth president in March 2022, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and an MBA in Information Systems from Baylor University, a Master of Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from the University of South Carolina. 

She said that she still doesn’t know how her parents managed to help four children graduate from college debt-free, but she knows that this scholarship would have meant something special to them.

“They would be thrilled to know that a scholarship in their name will help someone in the short run so that their life can be better in the long run,” said Schwaig. “I can’t think of a better way to honor them.”


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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. 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 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.