Kennesaw State University President Betty Siegel to Step Down
Atlanta — May 12, 2005
University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith announced today that Kennesaw State University President Dr. Betty Siegel has informed him she will step down from her post, effective January 2, 2006.
Dr. Siegel – one of the longest-serving woman presidents in the nation – was named president of Kennesaw State University in 1981, thereby becoming the University System of Georgia’s first female president. Under her leadership, Kennesaw State has evolved and expanded from a 3,500-student college offering 15 undergraduate degree programs, to a full-fledged university with a current enrollment of nearly 18,000 students accessing 55 undergraduate and graduate-degree programs.
“Betty Siegel is an icon among American college presidents,” Chancellor Meredith stated. “Her record is truly outstanding. She has led and remained at the helm of Kennesaw State’s metamorphosis into a great university.”
Dr. Siegel plans to conduct study and lead a program in ethical leadership at Oxford University in Oxford, England, next spring, through Kennesaw State’s RTM Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character. She also is working on her second book, “Transforming Colleges and Schools Through Invitational Leadership.”
During her tenure as KSU president, Dr. Siegel has seen the institution gain increasing recognition and national accolades, particularly for its emphasis on student success and for the quality of its academic programs. In addition, the president has been consistently recognized for her individual professional leadership and the institutional initiatives she has directed.
Most recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Kennesaw State’s “first-year experience” as a “program to look for” in its 2005 “America’s Best Colleges” edition, spotlighting excellence in higher education. Kennesaw State was among 40 schools recognized for their comprehensive efforts to acclimate first-year students to college life – and the only institution in Georgia to be so honored. U.S. News compiled the list by inviting university presidents, chief academic officers and deans of students to nominate up to 10 institutions possessing outstanding first-year programs.
The U.S. News recognition was not the first time Kennesaw State had been honored as a national leader in first-year education. In 2001 KSU was one of 16 colleges and universities – Harvard and Stanford among them – cited by Time magazine for helping freshmen make a successful transition to college life.
In Fall 2003, KSU was named by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as one of twelve founding institutions included in its program titled “Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year” the goal of which is to develop voluntary standards institutions can use to judge and improve their own programs.
Additionally in 2003, the university received a $1 million donation to underwrite the work of the RTM Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Character and to endow the Betty L. Siegel Endowed Chair of Leadership, Ethics and Character.
In 1989 and 1990 Kennesaw State was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of twelve regional institutions in the South labeled as one of the country’s “up and comers,” and one of two regional institutions in the South designated as a “rising star,” respectively. In 1991 U.S. News and World Report again selected the college as a “rising star,” naming it at that time number one in the South.
Kennesaw State also has been cited for exemplary programs in minority recruitment and retention; leadership programs for faculty, staff, administrators and students; international initiatives; and an array of support programs for inviting success.
Siegel joined Kennesaw State from Western Carolina University, where she was the first woman academic dean in the School of Education and Psychology from 1976 to 1981. From 1971 to 1976 she was the first woman Dean of Academic Affairs for Continuing Education at the University of Florida, where she had been a member of the faculty since 1967. She previously taught at Indiana University and Lenoir-Rhyne College.
Siegel received her Ph.D. from Florida State University, a M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a B.A. in English and History from Wake Forest University, and an Associate of Arts from Cumberland College. She completed two years of post-doctoral study in Clinical Child Psychology at Indiana University. She also holds several honorary doctorates.
Meredith said Betty Siegel will be sorely missed when she leaves the university to which she has dedicated so much of her life and professional career: “We all love Betty for so many things,” he stated. “She is known nationally for her infectious smile, her big colored glasses, but most importantly for her competence.”
The chancellor will announce his plans for launching the search process to identify a replacement for President Siegel in the coming months.