Kennesaw State University is one of the newer universities to pass the 20,000 student mark. With this year being its golden anniversary, KSU enrolls over 24,600 students. Considering that many universities love to flaunt their 1800s establishment dates, this is a pretty impressive achievement! Academically, the school is in the midst of a long-term plan to raise academic standards that includes introducing more doctoral programs and eliminating the remaining associate’s degrees. Those degrees are reminders of the university’s humble founding as Kennesaw Junior College in 1963. Interestingly, KSU has only had three Presidents in its fifty years. Horace Sturgis served from 1963-1981, Betty Siegel (“the Betty”) served from 1981-2006, and Daniel Rapp has served from 2006-present.
One episode that KSU would probably rather forget is the Spaceship Earth debacle. In September 2006, a 350,000 pound statue called Spaceship Earth was placed next to the Social Sciences Building. It was designed as a permanent reminder to students to take good care of their planet. In a series of ironic and embarrassing events, the statue collapsed from shoddy workmanship after only three months, and it was found that it was made of material that had been strip mined. So, the shoddily built symbol of taking care of Earth was rebuilt and today it stands on its original location outside the Social Sciences Building, a reminder also of the potential folly of man.
But Kennesaw is about more than just academics, Presidents named Betty, and 350,000 pounds of ironically collapsing quartz statues. The University also has one of the largest collections of rare books in the United States, and hosts the Owls sports teams which compete in the NCAA Division I, including men’s and women’s basketball which are housed in the Convocation Center.
The town itself has a fascinating history, including one of the great moments in the Civil War, the Great Locomotive Chase, which really, you should just read about. It reads like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. Today, it is home to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, as well as being known for its mandatory gun possession law. Being part of the Atlanta metropolitan area, Kennesaw has all the benefits of a small town with all the amenities that a major metropolitan area has to offer.
But, still, when you’re ready to go abroad or head home for the summer, there are plenty of self-storage options close to Kennesaw State.