KSU Foundation recognizes outstanding faculty and staff

John Salerno Neel Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology KSU.jpg

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 14, 2015) – The Kennesaw State University Foundation awarded more than $…

Georgia (Aug 14, 2015)KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug. 14, 2015) – The Kennesaw State University Foundation awarded more than $134,000 to outstanding faculty and staff across both campuses of the university in an Aug. 13 ceremony.

“Continuing on the tradition we started in 2013, we will honor both faculty and staff in the same ceremony to allow the whole campus to come together as a community and celebrate our noteworthy achievements,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Ken Harmon. “The overall amount of funding provided by the foundation exceeds that of any other university within the University System of Georgia.”

On Thursday, the foundation awarded $111,500 in funds recognizing faculty excellence in research, teaching and professional service. The foundation also awarded $22,500 in funds for staff and administrator awards.

Before announcing the faculty and staff winners, Harmon announced the recipients of the 2015-2016 Clendenin Scholars Program. Each recipient received full graduate tuition waivers and awards of $20,000 and $15,000 respectively, based on their pursuit of doctoral and master’s degrees. Kyle Jones, who is pursuing his doctorate in English education, and Reuben Hilliard, who is pursuing his master’s in applied statistics, are the newest Clendenin Scholars.

“The Clendenin Scholars Program recognizes outstanding graduate students at KSU who have distinguished themselves as highly accomplished scholars and practitioners in their fields of study,” Harmon said. “Started in 2008 by the Clendenin family, this scholarship has supported over 30 past recipients, and continues to grow in stature and prestige.”

The top faculty award, the university’s "Distinguished Professor," was given to John Salerno, the Neel Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology. Salerno received a check for $20,000.

“Since arriving at KSU, he (Salerno) has published 25 papers and submitted four patent applications,” Harmon said. “In the last five years, he has been cited approximately 830 times. He has catapulted the former Department of Biology and Physics into a state-of-the-art research facility with the award of many major research instrumentation grants from the National Science Foundation.”

Randy Shelton, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Operations, was recognized as the administrator of the year, while Kristi Day, business manager for the university advancement department, was named staff employee of the year. Each received $5,000.

For the first time this year, outstanding part-time faculty were recognized with awards of $500 each. Recipients included:

  • Deborah Hutchinson, College of the Arts;
  • Nicholas Papleacos, College of Architecture and Construction Management;
  • Elizabeth Johnson, Bagwell College of Education;
  • Raymundo “Ray” Marquez, Coles College of Business;
  • Regina Bradley, College of Humanities and Social Sciences;
  • Martha Manly, College of Science and Mathematics;
  • Charles Duvall, Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology; and
  • Larry A.D. Byrnes, University College.

The second of three new awards, the award for international achievement, recognized a full-time faculty member who demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and creative activity and professional service which embodies culturally diverse and pluralistic global perspectives, and effective and innovative teaching practices focused on preparing students to be responsible global leaders. Professor of Music Laurence Sherr received the first KSU Foundation Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement and $5,000.

The final new faculty award, the KSU Foundation Diversity Advocate Award, and $5,000 went to Associate Professor of Spanish Ernesto Silva.

New faculty were also recognized wtih early career awards and $5,000.

Recipients included:

  • Scott J. Nowak, molecular and cellular biology;
  • Andrew Whitehead, history and philosophy;
  • Jennifer McMahon-Howard, sociology and criminal justice;
  • Jennifer Louten, molecular and cellular biology; and
  • Jidong Yang, civil and construction engineering.

Other faculty awards included:

  • ·      KSU Foundation Outstanding Community Engagement Award: Linda Hightower, professor of visual arts;
  • ·      KSU Foundation Outstanding Professional Service Award: Barbara Blake, professor of nursing;
  • ·      KSU Foundation Distinguished Research Award in Artistic and Creative Pursuits: Ming Chen, professor of theatre and performance studies;
  • ·      KSU Foundation Distinguished Research Award in Humanities and Social Sciences: Volker Franke, professor of conflict management; and
  • ·      KSU Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award: Ana-Maria Croicu, associate professor of mathematics.

Each recipient received $10,000.

Other distinguished staff support awards included:

  • ·      Alda Wood, academic division;
  • ·      Megan MacDonald, academic division;
  • ·      Zelda Ray, administrative division;
  • ·      Patsy Bowen, campus services division; and
  • ·      Debbie Smith, campus services division.

Each recipient received $2,500.

Staff Senate $500 scholarship awards went to Tarrica Wiley, administrative associate II, physics department, Marietta Campus; and Helene Davis, administrative assistant IV, enrollment services, student financial aid, Kennesaw Campus.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 32,000 students from 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. 



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. 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 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu