Presidential Diversity Awards presented at Kennesaw State

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 26, 2018

Faculty, staff and student recognized for contributions to inclusive campus

Seven members of Kennesaw State University’s faculty and staff and a student were awarded 2018 Presidential Diversity Awards recognizing their service and contributions toward creating more inclusive and welcoming campus environments.

The sixth annual awards, which correspond to six Presidential Commissions on Diversity operating at Kennesaw State since 2013, were presented Wednesday at a ceremony hosted by the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Presidential Diversity Awards

2018 Presidential Diversity Award winners, from left, Edwin Akins, Savannah Bronson, Pao Scudder, Griselda Thomas, Charles Dickens, Michael Redd, Roneisha Worthy, and Joya Carter Hicks.

Click on the links to see the 2018 Presidential Diversity Award recipients and learn more about their contributions:

Outstanding Contribution Award

   Roneisha Worthy, assistant professor, Civil and Construction Engineering, Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology                                                                     

Teresa M. Joyce Award for Excellence

   Charles Dickens, community affairs officer, KSU Police Department

R.C. Paul Excellence in Sustainability Award

   Edwin Akins, associate professor of architecture, Department of Architecture

   Pao Scudder, groundskeeper, Marietta Campus, Facilities Services

Mattox Award for Excellence in Service and Leadership 

   Mike Redd, assistant registrar and part-time instructor of sport management

R.O.H. Social Justice Award

   Griselda Thomas, associate professor of English and interdisciplinary studies and coordinator of African and African Diaspora Studies

  Savannah Bronson, senior, human services major

Carol J. Pope Award

   Joya Carter-Hicks, associate professor in special education and coordinator of the Universal Design for Learning Laboratory

During the ceremony, speakers reflected on the values and the actions represented by the award winners, who have worked on campus in the areas of women’s empowerment and gender equality; environmental sustainability; racial awareness and knowledge; and support and advocacy for the LGBTQ community, students with disabilities and veterans.

“There are certain foundations and fundamentals that bring us together as a community, ideas like freedom of speech and a respect for differences,” Interim President Ken Harmon said. “Kennesaw State remains a place that fosters all perspectives, across backgrounds, beliefs, cultures and abilities. We may differ and disagree, but my experience has shown that the more diverse the decision-making groups are, the better the decisions.”

Opening the ceremony, Erik Malewski, the University’s chief diversity officer, cited recent research that suggests close relationships and social interactions are the two biggest predictors of long life. He praised the awardees for their hard work and their contributions to the social integration that creates a healthy campus environment.

“A lot goes into making an institution a success, and the people we are recognizing have done a lot of work,” Malewski said. “In the end, higher education is really all about human relationships.”

In her keynote address, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and founding director of the Women’s Resource Center at Spelman College, said the awards program “acknowledges, in a very public way, individuals who have said ‘no’” in the face of regressions in our country on issues of racial, gender, religious and ethnic diversity.

Guy-Sheftall urged three actions to maintain forward momentum: engage in resistance against intolerance, bigotry and hatred; remain committed to fundamental values like diversity and respect for human difference; and become kinder and more compassionate, never succumbing to hopelessness.

– Sabbaye McGriff

Photos by David Caselli

Video production by Nathalia Jaramillo, Jennifer Leifheit-Little, Wes Morgan and the KSU video production team

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit