Kennesaw State University has announced that a $500,000 donation from Tommy and Chantal Bagwell of Forsyth County has created the largest annual scholarship awards program in the college’s history.
Twenty freshmen, sophomores and beginning graduate students will receive $5,000 renewable scholarships until graduation, according to a news release from the school.
In return for their awards, recipients must promise at some point in their careers that they will give back to future Kennesaw State students in the form of scholarships.
One of the guiding principles of the scholarship is to increase recipients’ participation, support and partnership with the university, the news release said.
A KSU trustee, Bagwell and his wife made the gift in the memory of his late mother, Clarice, who also served as a KSU trustee. She was also the recipient of the university’s first honorary doctorate of humane letters in 1997.
Bagwell, CEO of American Proteins Inc., an animal byproduct rendering company in Forsyth County, was elected to the KSU Foundation board in 2005.
He was the keynote speaker at the university’s commencement ceremony earlier this month.
In a statement, Bagwell recalled how "his parents were educators and civic-minded individuals who instilled in our family a deep and abiding mission of giving back to the community."
"Chantal and I are proud to honor them with this gift, and in so doing we hope to kindle that spark in a new generation that will become the leaders of tomorrow," he said.
The needs-based scholarships are available to freshmen, sophomores and beginning graduate students with a 3.0 or better grade-point average, according to the university.
Preference is given to entering freshmen who have taken vigorous academic course work in high school.
The scholarships are renewable for up to four years for freshmen, three years for sophomores and two years for graduate students.
Kennesaw President Daniel S. Papp noted in a statement that "the Bagwell family has a long history of supporting Kennesaw State."
"We are grateful Tommy has continued that family tradition," Papp said. "The Bagwell Scholarships are an important resource for the students, as well as the institution."
Each year, new and past scholarship recipients will be invited to an annual banquet with the Bagwell family.
This year’s 20 scholarship recipients include Barbara VanKempen, a nursing major from Cumming.
In honor of Bagwell’s dedication and commitment to the university and its foundation, he recently received the Clarice C. Bagwell Medal at the annual KSU Foundation dinner.
The foundation award is given annually to a trustee for "unselfish and tireless efforts over time."