Kennesaw State recognizes outstanding alumni

Alumni Award winners

Distinguished alumni awards part of Homecoming 2015 festivities KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 13, 2015)…

Georgia (Oct 13, 2015)Distinguished alumni awards part of Homecoming 2015 festivities

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 13, 2015) — Kennesaw State University’s Office of Alumni Relations recently recognized three successful alumni and a faculty member with a ceremony and banquet celebrating their achievements as part of Homecoming 2015.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners are Aridth Gibbons (’95), College of Science and Mathematics; Christopher G. Ragsdale (’92, ’15), Coles College of Business, Bagwell College of Education; and Gregory D. Teague, P.E. (’96), Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. James Wermert is the winner of the Betty L. Siegel Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award program was established in 1992 to honor Kennesaw State’s most accomplished graduates. A distinguished alumnus/a is described as “one who promotes the ideals and mission of Kennesaw Sate University and who demonstrates distinguished achievement in his or her chosen field at a local, regional or national level, adding to the prominence of the University.”

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners are:

  •  Aridth Gibbons graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Viral Special Pathogens Branch, studying highly infectious viruses. At the CDC, she was part of the response team fighting to control the 2014 – 2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, helped track the Hantavirus in Montana and was deployed to Uganda in 2012 to battle the Marburg virus.
  • Christopher Ragsdale received his master’s degree in educational leadership in July, earning summa cum laude honors. He earned his bachelor’s in information systems in 1992, with cum laude distinction. Ragsdale serves as superintendent of the Cobb County School District, the second largest school system in Georgia. He leads a district of 114 schools with more than 111,000 students and 16,000 employees.
  •  Gregory Teague earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology at Southern Polytechnic State University and is president of Croy Engineering in Marietta. A certified professional engineer in Georgia, he has facilitated extensive public involvement and consensus building on projects such as the Cobb County Northwest Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study and Environmental Assessment, renovation of Cobb County’s only domestic violence shelter and the Skip Spann Connector.

Also established in 1992, the Betty L. Siegel Award, named in honor of past president Betty L. Siegel, is bestowed upon an outstanding member of the Kennesaw State staff or faculty for  “exceptional service to the University.” Honorees “embody the qualities of leadership, scholarship and service to KSU while displaying a strong commitment to his or her students, colleagues and the surrounding community.”

James Wermert, the 2015 Betty L. Siegel Award recipient, is a senior lecturer in management and entrepreneurship for the Coles College of Business. Besides teaching strategy and international management for the last 10 years at KSU, he is also a seasoned executive with more than 40 years of experience. In addition to his full-time teaching responsibilities, Wermert provides business development, strategy/planning consulting and organizational design and development services to companies in the health services and pharmaceutical industries. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 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