Donors, scholarships help students in recovery see a brighter future

KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 2, 2023

CYAAR Breakfast
Justin Schechter announces winners at the annual Collegiate Recovery Scholarship Breakfast.
Thirty Kennesaw State University students were celebrated Friday during the annual Collegiate Recovery Scholarship Breakfast, where about $40,000 in scholarships were presented to members of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR).

During the breakfast at the KSU student center, CYAAR student representative, junior Justin Schechter read the names of the other scholarship recipients. Schechter credited CYAAR with helping him to succeed at Kennesaw State.

The 15th annual breakfast celebrated student successes and thanked supporters for their donations used to fund the CYAAR scholarships and other initiatives supporting students in recovery.

Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig called the breakfast one of her favorite events, because she got to see firsthand the “power and hope” the program brings to students in recovery.

“Through innovative programming, collaboration and interdisciplinary research opportunities, the center continues to lead the field in prevention, intervention and recovery support services,” Schwaig said.

In Fall 2022, CYAAR had 19 students earn an A in all their classes for the semester, and nearly 54% of students in the CRC improved or maintained their institutional grade point average (GPA). In Spring 2023, 21 students earned an A in all of their classes and 70% maintained or improved their GPA.

In the full academic year, seven students earned an A in all of their classes for the entire year, and 10 students graduated, two with cum laude honors, one with magna cum laude and one summa cum laude.

In their keynote address, CYAAR donor and recovery champions Anne and Tom Michaud shared their own struggles, Tom with alcohol use and Anne growing up with parents who were alcoholics. Michaud said he began drinking to find a sense of “fitting in,” but his alcohol use soon ran out of control. He told the crowd of students of his own struggles with alcoholism before an awakening that pushed him to seek help in June 1993.

Anne Michaud shared about her childhood of trying to “fix my family.” She said after her parents’ divorce and the death of her stepfather, her mother’s alcohol use spiraled out of control before her mother decided to seek help after months of urging from family and friends.

“We’re involved because this is personal for us,” Tom Michaud said. “Working with others suffering from addiction is some of the most rewarding work we can do once we recover. It’s not always convenient or necessarily easy, but it’s amazing what it does for our own recovery.”

He added that working with CYAAR over the past four years and getting to see firsthand the successes of its students has re-ignited his own passion for recovery work.

“No doubt, KSU’s continued support of CYAAR makes it the best collegiate recovery program in the country,” Tom Michaud said.

– By Thomas Hartwell

Photo by Matt Yung

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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