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$17 million donated earns naming right of academic learning center for Audrey Morgan and Dr. Bobbie Bailey
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$17 million donated earns naming right of academic learning center for Audrey Morgan and Dr. Bobbie Bailey

Kennesaw State University’s Academic Learning Center, home to student honors and research facilities, now bears the name of the University’s largest family benefactors.

In front of an audience of KSU deans, faculty and scholarship recipients who have benefited from the gifts of Audrey Morgan and her late sister Bobbie Bailey, KSU leaders unveiled on the newly named Morgan and Bailey Academic Learning Center. Philanthropic support from Morgan, Bailey and the Bobbie Bailey Foundation totals more than $17 million, making the family the largest family donors in KSU history.

“I cannot think of a better building on our campus to be named after our dear friends Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Dr. Audrey Morgan – two women, two sisters, who have a legacy of impacting the next generation and making opportunities for students here at Kennesaw State,” said Kennesaw State University President Kathy Schwaig.

Schwaig said the ALC was “desperately needed” when it officially opened in 2022 and is a facility of which the University is now immensely proud.

Audrey Morgan “On behalf of my late sister, Dr. Bobbie Bailey, and myself, we are deeply honored to have this Academic Learning Center named in our honor,” Morgan said. “When my sister and I started our foundation, our stated purpose was education, healthcare, arts and human services, and over the years, we have supported all these areas. But from the start, our focus and our major support has always been education. All of us know that education has the ability to transform lives, and the transformation is not in just that one life, but the impact will be compounded over the years by the contributions they’ll make in their families, in their communities and in our society.”

KSU sophomore Elise Hayen, an honors student majoring in both English and oboe performance, proved Morgan’s words in her own reflections at the naming ceremony.

“I want to thank you, Dr. Morgan, for providing so many scholarships to students at KSU. It is no understatement to say that my scholarship from Dr. Bobbie Bailey is the reason I am in college,” Hayen said. “Because of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey Endowed Honors Music Scholarship, I have the freedom to focus solely on my education and honing my craft as a musician. That is a luxury that I do not take for granted.”

Morgan and Bailey have a long and storied history of support for KSU, dating back to 1993, shortly after Bailey met former KSU President Betty Siegel and the two became, in Morgan’s words, “fast friends.”

In 2021, a $4 million gift from the Bobbie Bailey Foundation established honors scholarship endowments for students in the Journey Honors College pursuing degrees in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the College of Computing and Software Engineering, as well as Honors student-athletes.

That same year, Morgan donated $5 million via the Bobbie Bailey Foundation toward the existing Dr. Bobbie Bailey Endowed Music Scholarship and to establish the Dr. Bobbie Bailey Endowed Honors Music Scholarship. In recognition of the foundation’s gift, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia later approved the naming of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey School of Music at Kennesaw State University.

Audrey MorganThe sisters’ philanthropy also includes donation of 27 Steinway pianos to the School of Music, the establishment of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performance Center, the Audrey and Jack Morgan Endowed Scholarship in Music, a major gift to name the Audrey and Jack Morgan Concert Hall in 2012, support of KSU athletics leading to the naming of the Dr. Bobbie Bailey Athletic Complex and Bailey Park, gifts supporting the construction of KSU athletic complexes in the early 2000s and the 2017 establishment of the Audrey Morgan Nursing Scholarship, aiming to combat nursing shortages across Georgia.

Along with its 20 classrooms, 200-seat auditorium, 12 seminar rooms, 11 group study rooms, student study lounge and faculty hoteling suite, the Morgan and Bailey Academic Learning Center features a 4,600-square-foot suite housing KSU Journey Honors College. The research office is equipped with configurable workspaces for student and faculty researchers, as well as a state-of-the-art interactive video wall that visualizes complex data.

The building now houses the rapidly expanding KSU Journey Honors College, and the Office of Undergraduate Research, reflecting the University’s commitment to research as a Carnegie-designated R2 doctoral research institution.

The ALC is also home to the Division of Global Affairs, which offers a variety of study-abroad programming for students to engage in diverse and immersive cultural experiences while earning academic credit toward their degree programs. Global Affairs supports KSU’s growing international student population, representing more than 70 countries and providing cultural exchange experiences on campus. Other departments in the ALC include Owl Advising, the Department of Career Planning and Development, Student-Athlete Success Services, and the SMART (Science and Math Academic Resource and Tutoring) Center.

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