Diversity at KSU

Exhibit includes histories and portraits of 14 who made a difference for diversity at KSU

Kennesaw State launches exhibit chronicling University’s history of diversity KENNESAW, Ga. (…

Georgia (Mar 24, 2016)

Kennesaw State launches exhibit chronicling University’s history of diversity

KENNESAW, Ga. (March 24, 2016) — The evolution of diversity and inclusion over Kennesaw State University’s first half century is captured in “Emerging From Within,” a new exhibit that will be on display for public viewing in the Social Sciences Atrium through April 24.

Captured in the exhibit are the life histories, photographs and narratives of 14 individuals whose contributions helped shape the University’s evolution as a welcoming, diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and visitors. The display features the individuals’ portraits, which are accompanied by a ‘QR’ code that allows visitors to view the contributors’ mini-stories on video via a mobile device. 

“This exhibit is another historic milestone for Kennesaw State University,” said Nathalia Jaramillo, deputy chief diversity officer in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “It speaks volumes about the changes the University has undergone, the value it places on diversity and inclusion, and the importance of preserving this vital history as part of the institution’s legacy.” 

The exhibit, which draws its title from the theme of a 1983 Kennesaw State yearbook, is an outgrowth of a book, “Kennesaw State University: The First Fifty Years, 1963-2013” by Thomas Scott, professor emeritus of history. It also builds upon “50 Years of Inclusion,” a five-member panel discussion during Kennesaw State’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2013. The exhibit’s subtitle, “The Kennesaw State Diversity Collection,” signifies that it will be permanently housed in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion after its initial public viewing.

The exhibit’s first installation pays tribute to the following 14 individuals and their contributions to diversity at Kennesaw State:

  • Terri Arnold, the first African-American staff member at what was then Kennesaw Junior College, began her career as a secretary for the dean of students in 1971 and served in several administrative roles, retiring in 2016 as manager of planning and strategic initiatives for the Office of External Affairs.
  • Rosa Bobia,professor emerita of French and former director of the Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, introduced African-French writers into Kennesaw State’s foreign language curricula through her scholarship on James Baldwin.
  • Ken Jin, a 1992 Kennesaw State MBA graduate, founded and now directs the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University (CIKSU), one of the fastest growing and most successful Confucius Institutes across the globe.
  • Teresa Joyce, former Kennesaw State professor, dean and first associate provost, led the creation of the University’s Safe Space Initiative that trains students, staff, faculty, and administrators on creating an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.
  • Nancy King, who rose from part-time teaching to becomevice president of Student Success and Enrollment Services, focused on student retention and laid the foundation for international, multicultural and GLTBIQ retention services at Kennesaw State.
  • Oral Moses,professor emeritus of voice and music literature and accomplished vocalist, joined the faculty in 1984, becoming a pillar of support for Kennesaw State’s African-American faculty.
  • Bobby Olive, Kennesaw State’s first African-American faculty member in 1971 and a counselor for the Higher Education Achievement Program (HEAP), was instrumental in recruiting students from diverse racial/ethnic and economic backgrounds.
  • Robert C. Paul,former professor of biology and Kennesaw State’s first director of sustainability, formed the first faculty and staff environmental group and continues to advocate for a balance between the University’s expanding building needs and the conservation of nature.
  • Jorge Perez, formerinformation systems professor, faculty executive assistant to President Daniel Papp and current vice provost for institutional effectiveness, served as associate director of the former Center for Hispanic Studies and has advocated for the LGBTQ and Latin@ communities at Kennesaw State.
  • Carol Pope, assistant director of Disabled Student Services, developed the University’s program to   support students with disabilities over her 25 years at Kennesaw State and is a stalwart advocate for ensuring success for students with disabilities inside and outside the classroom.
  • Jerome Ratchford, former director of Student Development, Dean of Students and recently retired vice president for Student Success, advocated for students and developed Kennesaw State into a place where all students, especially those who identify as international and minority students, can succeed.
  • Harris Travis, former vice president for academic affairs at Southern Polytechnic State University from 1982 until 1998, is senior pastor of historically African-American Zion Baptist Church and connects diverse people throughout the larger community to Kennesaw State.
  • Frank Wills, the first director of Kennesaw State’s Veterans Resource Center and a liaison between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University, is a committed advocate for student veterans on campus, proactively advising and helping them navigate college and acclimate to campus life.
  • Robert Yancy,founded the School of Management at Southern Polytechnic State University, where he became the first African-American dean of a business school at a predominately white institution within the state of Georgia.

“The people depicted in this exhibit represent hundreds of years of service to Kennesaw State University,” Jaramillo said. “Their service and contributions reflect an unwavering commitment to diversity and the same optimism about the University’s future that the Montage yearbook staff showed 30 years ago in designating ‘Emerging From Within’ as its theme. That outlook continues to be represented in the collective efforts of staff, faculty and administration to make Kennesaw State a national model for diversity and inclusion.”

View “Emerging From Within: The Kennesaw State Diversity Collection” online at http://diversity.kennesaw.edu/history/.


— Sabbaye McGriff

Photos by David Casellii



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