Kennesaw State leaders welcome faculty and staff for new academic year

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 10, 2023

While some of the 6,000 students who live on campus were moving into residence halls Thursday morning, Kennesaw State University’s faculty and staff gathered in the Convocation Center to focus on the success of all the 44,000 students starting Fall semester on Monday.

In the Launch ’23 gathering, President Kathy Schwaig compared KSU students to a photo or work of art, with the University as a whole serving as the frame that supports and enhances it.

Contained within the structure of that frame are excellent classroom instruction; support services to help students thrive in and outside the classroom and laboratory; opportunities for students to become involved in the campus community; enriching experiences, including athletics and arts; to be a part of impactful research and more. All help students succeed in their KSU journeys and earn the degrees they have chosen to work toward, Schwaig said.

“Every single one of our over 44,000 students is important. You are important. And what you do matters,” Schwaig said. “Thank you for being a part of the structure. A part of the frame that makes this place a powerful force. A beautiful piece of art in our world today.”

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ivan Pulinkala opened the program and recognized new faculty and staff who were joining KSU for their first Fall semester. He also thanked those faculty leaders who worked on updating academic guidelines across the University.

“As the 2023-24 academic year progresses, let’s work collaboratively, respectfully and thoughtfully to celebrate and advance every part of our institutional ecosystem, as our success in the year ahead will greatly benefit from an integrated approach to our institution’s advancement,” Pulinkala said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Arneson spoke about the ways his division supports the success of KSU students, including the FLIGHT: First-Year Connections program. FLIGHT focuses on creating a sense of unity among incoming first-year students through group activities and more.

“Research over time has clearly demonstrated that students who are engaged with their university tend to have higher retention and graduation rates than those who are not involved,” Arneson said.

Director of Athletics Milton Overton thanked faculty and staff for their support of Kennesaw State’s student athletes and athletic programs. The sense of community on campus helps athletes thrive academically as well as athletically, he said.

“Somehow you all make a large campus feel like a small, friendly community, according to our parents, our athletes and our recruits,” Overton said.

The Fall semester begins Sunday for most new students with the annual First-Year Convocation gathering, followed by the Splashbash event featuring water slides and other games on the Campus Green.

Fall classes for all new and returning students begin on Monday with Schwaig passing out pieces of the traditional First Day of School Cake on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses. Weeks of Welcome also begin Monday, which includes events to let students know about opportunities to get involved in University activities and campus services to help them succeed inside the classroom and out.

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