Cobb County’s flagship university has a new president.
Sam Olens was named the next president of Kennesaw State University on Wednesday. According to a press release from the school, Olens will assume the position on November 1, leaving his current position as attorney general for the state of Georgia.
“I pledge to work in partnership with the Kennesaw State campus community to focus our efforts on advancing our academic mission,” Olens said. “Working with students, faculty and staff, together, we will continue to make KSU a leading university.”
Olens will replace interim president Houston Davis, who has served in the position since long-time university head Dan Papp resigned in May, a month before it was discovered he had accepted more than $500,000 in early retirement pay.
The decision to select Olens was partly due to his Cobb County roots. He served as county commissioner from 1999 to 2002 and currently resides in Cobb County.
Olens comes into his position as the head of the third largest university in the state with the full backing of the University System of Georgia.
“Sam Olens is a proven consensus builder, and he will bring this important quality to Kennesaw State’s campus to partner with faculty and staff to the benefit of students,” said system chancellor Hank Huckaby.
Not everyone is pleased with Olens’ hiring, however. As reported by CBS 46, 100 KSU students, faculty, and staff protested the possibility of selecting Olens as the new president on Monday.
Many were concerned with his history as Georgia’s attorney general. In that position, he defended the state’s ban on gay marriage and led the charge to sue the federal government for requiring transgender students to use the school bathroom they identify with.
On Oct. 6, Olens was named by Chancellor Huckaby as the only candidate for the position.