Susan Dyess named chair of Wellstar School of Nursing at Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 7, 2022

Kennesaw State University professor of nursing Susan Dyess has been named to the Thomas M. and Elizabeth D. Holder Endowed Chair in the Wellstar School of Nursing

Susan Dyess
Susan Dyess

A professor at KSU since 2019, Dyess had served as interim director of the Wellstar School since July 2021.

“As interim director, Dr. Dyess has demonstrated her passion for nursing, nursing education and teamwork,” said Monica Swahn, dean of the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services. “She has also demonstrated strong leadership skills and strategic planning. She emerged from a national search as the ideal candidate for the position, and I congratulate her on this appointment.”

Thomas and Elizabeth Holder’s $1 million gift to the KSU Foundation established the endowed chair in the Wellstar School of Nursing in 2014. Thomas Holder served as chair of the KSU Foundation from 2002-2007.

Dyess has more than 30 years of experience in nursing practice and academic service. Since joining the faculty at Kennesaw State, Dyess has also served as an associate dean and helped create both University and College-level policies dedicated to student success.

“I couldn’t be happier to be selected for this endowed chair and to be the director of the Wellstar School of Nursing,” she said. “The faculty and staff are phenomenally committed and dedicated, the students are talented and amazing, and I have the privilege of working alongside them every day.”

With a current enrollment of around 700, the Wellstar School of Nursing is one of the largest programs in the state. In February 2020, Wellstar Health System gifted $8.7 million to the nursing program to double enrollment, hire more faculty and staff, and increase course offerings in nursing to address a widespread nursing shortage. Dyess said she looks forward to strengthening the partnership with Wellstar and bolstering nursing education at Kennesaw State in service of that goal.

“Nursing right now is undergoing a great workforce shortage, and the essentials that guide our educational curriculum have changed, so we need to respond to that,” she said. “While there's a lot to do, it's a very exciting time to be in nursing education.”

—   Dave Shelles
Photo by Judith Pishnery

Related Stories

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 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