Kennesaw State University’s president to lead Indiana University

Kennesaw State University president Pamela S. Whitten speaks during the 223rd Kennesaw State University commencement ceremony at the convocation center on the university's main campus in this 2019 file photo. Whitten is leaving KSU to become president of Indiana University on July 1, 2021. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Kennesaw State University president Pamela S. Whitten speaks during the 223rd Kennesaw State University commencement ceremony at the convocation center on the university's main campus in this 2019 file photo. Whitten is leaving KSU to become president of Indiana University on July 1, 2021. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Pamela Whitten, who’s led Kennesaw State since June 2018, announced Friday she’s leaving to become Indiana University’s president.

She’ll become Indiana’s president on July 1 and become the first woman to hold that position.

“While I have loved my time at KSU, this is an opportunity to return to the Midwest and the Big Ten where I spent my own academic years rising to the rank of professor and eventually serving as a Dean,” Whitten said in a statement to students, faculty, employees and supporters. She served in those roles at Michigan State University.

“This was not a decision I made lightly, and it was made all the more difficult by the fact that KSU is such an outstanding university with an exceptional campus community and strong ambition to provide a world-class education for its students. We have made significant strides collaboratively over the past three years to enhance KSU, and I have also been transformed personally from my time with the KSU community.”

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Kennesaw State, which has campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, has the second-largest enrollment of any college or university in Georgia, with more than 41,000 students. Indiana University has more than 112,000 students across its seven campuses and 19,000 employees statewide.

During Whitten’s tenure, KSU received some of its largest financial gifts in its history, partnered with Wellstar Health System to double the number of students in its nursing program and saw a 15% increase in externally-funded grants. University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley credited Whitten for a number of achievements and thanked her for helping colleagues throughout the system.

“I will miss her good counsel,” Wrigley said in a statement. “We are grateful for her service to our students and the University System of Georgia and wish her well.”

Whitten’s departure leaves another major position to fill for the Georgia Board of Regents. The board is conducting a search to replace Wrigley, who is retiring in July. Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is reportedly a candidate to become chancellor.

The board is also conducting searches for new presidents at Clayton State University, Savannah State University, Georgia State University and Georgia College & State University. Additionally, Georgia Highlands College President Donald J. Green announced Monday he’s leaving to become president of Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

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