The university system of Georgia announced Tuesday it has named Dr. Pamela Whitten as Kennesaw State University’s new president.
Whitten has served as the chief academic officer at the University of Georgia since 2014. She oversees instruction, research, public service and outreach, and student affairs and information technology, according to USG.
Whitten comes to KSU at a turbulent time for the school. Former President Sam Olens stepped down in February after tenure marked by controversy. Last fall, he banned a group of cheerleaders from the football field after they took a knee during the national anthem. The university system later said Olens didn’t notify officials of the change, even though he was advised to do so. Students and faculty had also raised concerns around Olens’ hiring.
The Board of Regents opted not to conduct a national search for the job, causing some to speculate Olens’ appointment was political.
The Board of Regents did conduct a national search for Olens’ replacement. However, members of the KSU community pushed for a more transparent process, after officials announced the search would be ‘closed,’ meaning the finalists’ names would not be made public.
In a written statement, University Chancellor Steve Wrigley indicated Whitten had positive interactions with the KSU community.
“We are excited about the feedback from students, faculty and staff who participated in Dr. Whitten’s campus visits last week,” Wrigley said. ” I look forward to seeing KSU thrive as she takes this important role.”
Whitten will start the position July 16. She will take over for interim president Ken Harmon, who previously served as KSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.