“We have to have student success as a part of our legacy,” she said.
Siegel was scrutinized in some quarters for not hiring enough women and faculty members of color and her management of the university’s growth.
"I've tried to be a steward of the place,” Siegel said in that 2006 AJC interview, explaining her goals as president. “I like that term. I've learned from any obstacles that we've had. A number of people here have been an inspiration to me. [I hope] I've done a good job. All I can hope is that what I've done was perceived as a positive experience. I don't have any regrets."
Siegel wanted KSU to have all the trappings of a traditional college campus. A year after she arrived, KSU started its first sports teams. The university’s student recreation and activities center on its Kennesaw campus was named after her.
Her legacy extended beyond the campus to the Waffle House across the street where Siegel ate breakfast almost each morning during her tenure at the university, meeting with students and staff at the restaurant. After her retirement, the restaurant dedicated a booth in her honor.
Siegel was preceded in death last year by her husband, Dr. Joel Siegel, a former attorney and municipal court judge in Kennesaw.
Asked what she wanted as her epitaph, Siegel replied: “I would like to be known as ‘A minister for education.’ ”
Read and sign the online guestbook for Betty Siegel here.