KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 17, 2023
Tommy Bagwell and Lori Kaczynski – two longtime supporters of Kennesaw State University whose contributions have created educational opportunities for countless students, were recently inducted into the Michael J. Coles College of Business Hall of Fame.
The College recognized Bagwell and Kaczynski for promoting and embodying personal integrity, leadership, and an entrepreneurial spirit. In a ceremony at Kennesaw State, they were honored for their commitment to innovation and community service, elements at the heart of the College’s mission.
“Tommy and Lori are heavily invested in the success of the Coles College of Business and our students,” said Coles College Dean Robin Cheramie. “Through scholarships, advisory board positions, and generous endowments, both have donated considerable time and resources to helping our students experience personal and professional success. Inducting Tommy and Lori into the Coles College Hall of Fame is a great privilege.”
Bagwell is an accomplished business leader who has supported Kennesaw State and the Coles College for many years. A native of North Georgia, he began his professional career at American Proteins, Inc. in 1969 and served as president and owner from 1972 to 2018.
His support for the Coles College of Business – along with the support of his wife Chantal – includes endowing the College’s Bagwell Center for the Study of Markets and Economic Activity and supporting the Colleges Education Economics Center. The Bagwell family’s support of these cutting-edge centers, which have received international acclaim, is well into the seven figures.
This is on top of the Bagwell family’s close relationship to the Clarice C. and Leland H. Bagwell College of Education, named after Tommy’s parents. Bagwell has also established the Bagwell Endowed Dean’s Chair, and the College’s building is named in Tommy’s and Chantal’s honor.
Bagwell’s connection to the University began with his mother, an educator who served as a Kennesaw State University trustee for 16 years.
“I once asked her why she wouldn’t resign from the Kennesaw State board of trustees with it being so far away from home,” Bagwell said. “She refused and stayed on the board of trustees forever. I'm glad mom didn't take my advice, and I have enjoyed everything I've been able to do since becoming involved with KSU.”
Kaczynski is Senior Vice President and Chief Audit, Risk and Compliance Officer for Graphic Packaging International. She also sits on the advisory board for Rausch Advisory Services and heads sponsorships for the Atlanta Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle recognized her with the “Women Who Mean Business” award, and she has authored or appeared in many articles for the publication.
A first-generation college student, Kaczynski earned her undergraduate accounting degree from the Coles College of Business School of Accountancy, where she was a founding member of the College’s Beta Alpha Psi Honors Society Chapter. She has since served on the SOA’s Advisory Council for more than 20 years, and previously served on the boards for the Internal Audit Center and the KSU Athletics Association.
“Kennesaw State has meant a lot to me for a lot of reasons,” said Kaczynski. “I fund a scholarship through the School of Accountancy because I want people to level up like I did. Kennesaw State is a special school that has always been student-led, and student-focused. I hope through scholarship and the other ways I contribute to Kennesaw State, we can find other people like me, help them level up, and then they can contribute to the community.”
Established in 2015, the Coles College of Business Hall of Fame now includes 18 members. Bagwell and Kaczynski join previous inductees Larry Stevens, Michael Leven, Michael Coles, Jack Dinos, Connie Engel, Gene Henssler, Tom Hughes, Harry Maziar, Sid Mookerji, Lee Rhyant, Doug Shore, Richard Taylor, Kerstin Valdes Benden, Valery Voyles, Shelby Wilkes and Mark Wilson.
– Daijah Sims
Photo by Matthew Yung
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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 kennesaw.edu.