Kennesaw State University announced last week it would receive the largest single-donor donation in its history, $10 million.
The donation from philanthropists Rosemary and John Brown will establish an endowment matching fund to benefit the university’s Honors College, according to university officials. The gift will be used to match other donations to benefit the Honors College in perpetuity, and university spokesperson Tammy DeMel said the money would be used solely for student scholarships.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia announced in response to the Browns’ donation that the Honors College will now be known as the Keeping Sights Upward (KSU) Journey Honors College.
“The generosity of Rosemary and John Brown will have a transformational effect for the entire university,” said KSU President Pamela Whitten. “It aligns perfectly with KSU’s guiding principle of putting students first and will provide life-changing opportunities for generations of exceptional students.”
Kennesaw State’s Honors College facilitates small honors sections of core courses in addition to offering special topics courses, interdisciplinary seminars and a variety of applied learning experiences, according to the university.
“KSU’s honors students are leaders and determined individuals who are motivated by their desire to reach beyond expectations,” said Honors College Dean Rita Bailey. “We are grateful to Rosemary and John Brown, who share our vision for expanding the college to offer more high-achieving students the opportunity to realize their goals and leave a lasting impact on the world.”
Rosemary and John Brown are longtime education advocates, particularly in higher education.
John Brown was the CEO and chairman of the board of the Stryker Corporation, a leading medical device company based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Rosemary Brown retired after a 30-year career as a math teacher and is an active member of KSU’s Honors College Advisory Board, according to KSU.
John Brown came from humble beginnings, growing up on a Tennessee farm during the Great Depression, to become a successful businessman who built Stryker into a multi-billion-dollar company. He attributes his success to the quality education he received, adding that his family’s gift to the Honors College is “a great opportunity to invest in the next generation of student leaders at KSU.”
Rosemary Brown said the couple’s investment in the Honors College will help students create the relationships and have the experiences that change the course of their lives and the future of the greater community.
“As an educator, I experienced no better feeling than seeing the light bulb turn on in a student’s mind,” she said. “Through this gift to KSU, we know we are giving students the opportunity to have that ‘aha moment’ in an educational sense and a philanthropic sense.”