Kennesaw State recognizes individuals for creating welcoming campus environment

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 25, 2022

Three members of Kennesaw State University’s faculty and staff and two students were presented the 2022 Presidential Diversity Awards recognizing their service and contributions toward creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment.

Pictured left to right: Mary Margaret Cornwell, Jay Powell, Olivia Maley, President Kathy Schwaig, Ivan Pulinkala

The ninth annual awards ceremony was held on April 20 and hosted by the University’s Organizational Effectiveness, Leadership Development, and Inclusive Excellence department

As a part of the university’s Roadmap to R2 Success, Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig expanded the strategic goals of the institution to include a pillar focused on advancing community and culture. Among other provisions, the pillar highlights the importance of nurturing a campus community that provides a sense of belonging and a broad marketplace of ideas. 

“These awards provide us with an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of our faculty, staff and students who are working to on behalf of our campus community, and I am proud of each of our honorees and research fellows for their hard work and commitment,” said Schwaig. “By emphasizing the importance of building a diverse campus environment in our strategic plan and taking intentional steps to achieve it, we will better support our students and strengthen our community,”

This year’s award recipients are: 

R.O.H. Social Justice Award for Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Sydnee Goode, junior, choral music education major

Carol J. Pope Award of Distinction for Disability Strategies and Resources
Mary Margaret Cornwell, undergraduate support librarian and librarian assistant professor of library science 

Teresa M. Joyce Award for Excellence for LGBTQ Initiatives
Olivia Maley, Campus Awareness Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services case manager

Student Diversity Award
Jay Powell, senior, geospatial sciences major

R.C. Paul Excellence in Sustainability for Sustainability
Britt Pickering, director of OwlSwap Sustainability Initiative

Sonia J. Toson, the University’s interim chief diversity officer, shared her appreciation for the faculty, staff, students and community partners that support the division’s mission to celebrate diversity.

“The Organizational Effectiveness, Leadership Development, and Inclusive Excellence department seeks to foster an inclusive learning and work environment that promotes an understanding of, and appreciation for, difference through initiatives, programs, services, and training,” Toson said. “We celebrate the wealth of diverse excellence that exists in our community and engage each other with respect as fellow humans.”

– Natalie Gaar
Photo by David Caselli

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 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