KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 2, 2023
Kennesaw State University President Kathy Schwaig has named Sonia Toson as vice president and chief diversity officer (CDO), following a nationwide search. She will assume the role on Feb. 15.
Toson, associate professor of law, has served as KSU’s interim chief diversity officer since August 2021. Prior to being named to the interim position, she served as the director of diversity relations in the Michael J. Coles College of Business.
Reporting to the president, Toson will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and will be responsible for providing vision, leadership and strategic direction for KSU’s Division of Diverse and Inclusive Excellence. As CDO, she will develop a long-term diversity and inclusion plan for the University and establish measurable goals and metrics to broaden perspectives around diversity and inclusion within the University community. Additionally, she will continue the work she began in her interim role to develop strategies and programs focused on the successful recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff.
“Kennesaw State University is a place where diverse perspectives are valued and where making sure that everyone feels welcomed and supported is part of the fabric of our campus community,” said Schwaig. “Sonia has been a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion at KSU for more than a decade, working collaboratively across our campus with students, faculty and staff. I look forward to partnering with her to further our mission of building a stronger community.”
As interim CDO, Toson moderated a panel on “Raising Awareness of Unconscious Bias and Microaggressions” for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was a keynote session panelist on the topic of inclusion in higher education at the International Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Conference at Coventry University in England.
“I am excited to serve KSU, my home for the past 14 years, in this impactful role,” Toson said. “Advancing equity, inclusion, and an authentic sense of belonging across our campus is a privilege and honor.”
Toson joined the former Southern Polytechnic State University as a lecturer in 2008 and continued to become an assistant professor of law in 2013. Prior to her academic career, she spent eight years in private practice specializing in entrepreneurship law, real estate, and construction law. Her research interests include the intersection between the law and social entrepreneurship, inclusive corporate social responsibility, social responsibility and the legal environment of sports, and pedagogical aspects of the study of law and negotiation.
She is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the University System of Georgia Chief Diversity Officer Working Group, the Georgia Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and the Georgia Association of Women in Higher Education.
Toson received a Juris Doctorate at American University Washington College of Law, and MBA from American University’s Kogod School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Languages and Culture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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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 kennesaw.edu.