College of Arts Dean Announces Retirement

After 38 years at Kennesaw State University, the dean of the College of the Arts announced he will begin retirement Feb. 1, 2012.

Joseph Meeks came to KSU in 1975 as an assistant professor of music. The school was very small with only three buildings at the time.

“Not only can I just talk about the history, I’ve lived the history,” Meeks said.

Meeks announced his retirement on Aug. 15 during KSU’s Opening of School activities and a press release named Ivan Pulinkala, currently chair and associate professor of the Department of Dance, as Interim Dean until a new dean is hired. According to the press release, a search committee will be formed fall semester with the goal of hiring a new dean by summer 2013.

“Ivan Pulinkala…He’s brilliant,” Meeks said. “He has the ingredients, in this time period while we’re waiting for a new dean, to keep what I’m doing [going].”

Meeks held several positions within COTA, and was the founding dean of the School of the Arts (now COTA). He raised millions of dollars for COTA, which funded things like the Bailey Performance Center, the Wilson Annex and the Museum of Art.

“Dean Meeks has had an immeasurable impact on Kennesaw State University
as a visionary administrator, community art leader, expert fundraiser and dedicated academic,” Pulinkala said.

When he first came to KSU, Meeks said he planned to move on in a few years, but after seeing how fast the school grew, decided to stay.

“The reason I stayed was because Kennesaw State was a different place every year,” Meeks said.

During his 38 years at KSU, the school has had four different names: Kennesaw Junior College, Kennesaw College, Kennesaw State College, and now Kennesaw State University.

In 2001, Meeks introduced annual fundraisers to create more scholarships for art students. Sept. 28 will mark the fifth and final year for the Flourish Luncheon, a black tie event Meeks started six years ago.

“You have to always know what your reality is. And the reality for me was it’s time to go and let someone else pick up this work and take it to the next level,” Meeks said.

Meeks said his hope for COTA after he leaves is that they continue to work toward their goals of graduate degrees, more facilities, more resources, more faculty and more full-ride scholarships.

“A 21st century dean needs to be an external dean,” Meeks said. “Out there, raising friends and funds.”