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This Day in Georgia History

August 19, 1981

Betty Siegel First Female University President

Dr. Betty L. Siegel became the first woman president in the University System of Georgia when the Board of Regents unanimously chose her to head Kennesaw College, replacing charter president Dr. Horace W. Sturgis, who retired on March 9, 1981. In 1972, Siegel had become the highest ranking female administrator in the University System of Florida, when she became Dean of Academic Affairs for Continuing Education at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In 1977, she left Florida to become Dean of the School of Education and Psychology at Western Carolina University, the post she held until her appointment at Kennesaw. During her tenure at Kennesaw, graduate programs were initiated in 1985 and enrollment grew from 4,195 students in 1981 to 12,537 students in 1996. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott of Kennesaw State University.]