Kennesaw State recognizes individuals for creating a welcoming campus environment


KENNESAW, Georgia (April 25, 2022) – Three Kennesaw State University faculty and staff and two students received the 2022 Presidential Diversity Awards recognizing their service and contributions to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment.

Pictured L-R: Mary Margaret Cornwell, Jay Powell, Olivia Maley, President Kathy Schwaig, Ivan Pulinkala

The ninth annual awards ceremony took place on April 20 and was hosted by the University’s Diverse and Inclusive Excellence Division.

As part of the university’s roadmap to R2 success, Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig expanded the institution’s strategic goals to include a pillar focused on advancing the community and culture. Among other provisions, the pillar emphasizes the importance of nurturing a campus community that provides a sense of belonging and a broad marketplace of ideas.

“These awards give us the opportunity to celebrate the contributions of our faculty, staff, and students who work on behalf of our campus community, and I am proud of each of our honorees and research fellows for their hard work and commitment,” says Schwaig. “By emphasizing the importance of creating a diverse campus environment in our strategic plan and taking intentional steps to achieve it, we will better support our students and strengthen our community,”

This year’s winners are:

ROH Social Justice Award for Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Sydnee Goode, Jr., Major in Choral Music Education

Carol J. Pope Award of Distinction for Disability Strategies and Resources
Mary Margaret Cornwell, Undergraduate Support Librarian and Assistant Professor of Librarianship

Teresa M. Joyce Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Initiatives
Olivia Maley, Campus Outreach and Empowerment Services (CARE) Case Manager

Student Diversity Award
Jay Powell, Senior, Geospatial Science Major

RC Paul Excellence in sustainability for sustainability
Britt Pickering, Director of the OwlSwap Sustainability Initiative

Sonia J. Toson, the University’s Acting Director of Diversity, shared her appreciation for the faculty, staff, students, and community partners who support the division’s mission to celebrate diversity.

“The Diverse and Inclusive Excellence Division seeks to foster an inclusive learning and working environment that promotes understanding and appreciation of difference through initiatives, programs, services and training,” Toson said. “We celebrate the wealth of diverse excellence that exists in our community and we engage with respect as human beings.”

– Natalie Garr
Photo by David Caselli

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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 connections, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the country and around the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated (R2) doctoral research institution, placing it among an elite group of only 6% of US colleges and universities with R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit


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