KSU appoints dean to distinguished chair in health and wellness

Credit: Courtesy of Kennesaw State University

Credit: Courtesy of Kennesaw State University

Monica Swahn, dean of Kennesaw State University’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services, was recently installed as the Dr. Betty L. Siegel Distinguished Chair in Health and Wellness.

“This collaborative and caring culture is not something we can ever take for granted. It must be cultivated and nurtured, and it’s something I treasure every day,” Swahn told KSU News.

“Of course, I’m also surrounded by a fabulous, talented and very generous team of deans, and I have also been fortunate to put in place a terrific leadership team for our Wellstar College. But all of us share a vision for student success, higher education and service, which is so very powerful and makes KSU such a special place to serve,” Swahn added.

Betty Siegel led KSU’s growth from a small state school to one of the largest in Georgia during her 25 years as president, The Atlanta Journal -Constitution’s Eric Stirgus wrote in 2020, when Siegel died.

“Siegel, known for her signature red glasses, became president in September 1981 when its enrollment was 3,500 and it offered 15 degrees. When she retired in 2006, KSU had 18,000 students and offered 55 undergraduate and graduate degrees. KSU now has about 38,000 students, the third-largest enrollment in the state,” Stirgus wrote.

The endowed chair comes from a $1 million donation from Debbie Pike and her partners in a restaurant group she helped found. Pike was close friends with Siegel, and said Swahn “embodies Siegel’s desire to transform lives through education and advocacy.”

“A chair position is one of the highest honors and recognitions that you can have as somebody who has accomplished a great deal in their career,” university president Kathy Schwaig told KSU News. “We’re grateful for those who make this support possible. We’re grateful to Monica for her leadership and for her commitment to excellence.”

Swahn has worked in public health, both in government and in higher education, for nearly 30 years, and this endowment will give her support for research and teaching.