KENNESAW, GA -- Kennesaw State University president-designate Sam Olens sent an email last night to students, faculty and staff, hours after the Board of Regents named him president. Olens is the soon-to-be former Attorney General of Georgia, hired despite protests at KSU.
11Alive News obtained a copy of the email. Here's what Olens wrote:
It is my honor to be named as the fourth president of Kennesaw State University, an institution that has helped transform our community and has earned a reputation as one of Georgia’s top universities. I am excited to join the KSU community. The tremendous growth both in size and academic stature that this university has achieved in a relatively short amount of time speaks volumes about your dedication and commitment to excellence.
Having been in public service for much of my career, there is probably a lot you know about me. Prior to becoming the state’s Attorney General in 2011, I served as Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for eight years and as a County Commissioner for three years, so I am no stranger to Cobb County and the community. However, what you may not know is that we share a common passion for Kennesaw State. My passion is very personal. It is rooted in my belief about the importance education plays in society, the life-changing impact education has on students, and the impact it has made in my own life.
Additionally, the grit and determination that Kennesaw State students are known for and the inclusive campus community are consistent with who I am and the values that I hold.
I know that you have many questions about how I plan to lead this university. As president, I strongly believe in mutual respect, open communication, and tolerance . The growth that has created many opportunities for our faculty, staff, and students, also comes with some challenges. We need to work together to find solutions that will enable Kennesaw State to continue to thrive.
Most importantly, we must renew the core of KSU’s mission and remain steadfast in our commitment to teaching, research, service, and our students. This means that we will continue to focus our efforts on ensuring the proper allocation of resources, improving graduation rates, increasing private fundraising for scholarships and holding ourselves accountable so that we are providing all of our students with the support they need to be successful in college and beyond.
Over the coming days, I will be on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses meeting with various individuals and groups so that we may begin a thoughtful dialogue. I want to share my initial thoughts about KSU's priorities but more important want to hear from you, the members of the campus community, about your vision and what priorities we should emphasize going forward. As I transition into my new role, I promise to keep the lines of communication open and will update you on our progress.
I am not one to sit behind a desk, so get used to seeing me out and about on both campuses. If you see me, please say hello, and if you still have concerns or questions, simply ask and I will give you an honest answer.
We are stronger and more effective when we work together and stay committed to helping our students and each other. This is a wonderful university and I believe that we will come together to make Kennesaw State the great university it is destined to become.
My wife, Lisa, and I look forward to officially becoming a part of Owl Nation on November 1.