Awards highlight diversity and inclusion at Kennesaw State

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University among eight nationally honored for commitment; seven individuals recognized for…

Georgia (Apr 21, 2016)University among eight nationally honored for commitment; seven individuals recognized for excellence

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 21, 2016)INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education,presented itsHigher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award and new “Diversity Champions” honor to Kennesaw State University Wednesday in a ceremony that also recognized seven students, faculty and staff members for their contributions to creating an inclusive campus climate.

The awards were presented at the 2015-2016 Presidential Diversity Awards ceremony, an event that annually highlights the University’s continued growth in its diverse population and its efforts to create a campus climate of respect and inclusiveness.

Kennesaw State was one of eight institutions nationally to be named to INSIGHT Into Diversity’s 2016 inaugural class of “Diversity Champions,” joining Columbia University, Penn State, Rochester Institute of Technology, Florida State, University of Central Florida, Texas Tech and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Last September, Kennesaw State was one of 92 institutions in a pool of 5,000 applicants designated to receive a HEED Award.

In presenting the awards to Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp, magazine owner and publisher Lenore Pearlstein noted that Kennesaw State ranked in the “very top tier” of HEED Award recipients. She cited the University’s numerous recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented students and the hiring of a vice provost to ensure that they graduate; the intentional increase of faculty, staff and students with disabilities and veterans; programs to retain diverse faculty, including the launch this fall of a diversity faculty fellows program; and presidential diversity commissions.

“Known for visionary leadership, “Diversity Champions” are institutions that set the standard for thousands of other campuses by developing successful strategies and programs that serve as a model of excellence for all institutions of higher education,” said Pearlstein, who was joined by co-owner and co-publisher Holly Mendelson. 

President Papp joined Erik Malewski, Kennesaw State’s chief diversity officer, to present the 2016 Presidential Diversity Awards to students, faculty and staff members who have demonstrated excellence in areas represented by six University presidential commissions: Disability Strategies and Resources; Gender and Work Life Issues, GLBTIQ Initiatives; Racial and Ethnic Dialogue; Sustainability; and Veterans Affairs.

“The Presidential Diversity Awards pay tribute to the principles of diversity, equity, transparency and shared governance at Kennesaw State,” Malewski said. “These individuals have been nominated by their peers because they exemplify the presidential commissions that work to create a comfortable campus climate and help to achieve the important institutional goals of diversity and inclusion.”

2015-2016 Presidential Diversity Award Winners


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