AADS Coordinator, Dr. Jesse Benjamin Awarded 2012-2013 Presidential Diversity Award


KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 17, 2013) — Guided by the principles of diversity, equity, transparency and shared governance, Kennesaw State University today bestowed the 2012-2013 Presidential Diversity Awards on several individuals.

The inaugural ceremony highlighted the University’s continued growth in its diverse population and its efforts to create a campus climate of respect and inclusiveness. For this inaugural event, the Presidential Commissions on Disability Strategies and Resources, Gender and Work Life Issues, GLBTIQ Initiatives, Racial and Ethnic Dialogue, Sustainability, and Veterans Affairs called for nominations to recognize individuals who have exemplified the mission of each commission.

A large crowd of students, faculty and staff filled Prillaman Auditorium in KSU’s Health and Human Services Building for the event, at which the following six individuals were recognized with Presidential Diversity Awards:

• Jesse Benjamin received the R.O.H. Social Justice Award in the Racial and Ethnic Dialogue category. (R.O.H. honors three recently retired faculty members, Rosa Bobia, Oral Moses, and Harold Wingfield.) Benjamin’s student mentoring activities and his role as advisor to the AADS Student Organization were mentioned, as well as his work with the NAACP chapter at KSU.

President Daniel S. Papp, Chief Diversity Officer Erik Malewski and the Presidential Commission Chairs acknowledged the contributions the award winners have made in the struggle to recognize, support, encourage, and ultimately to foster the success of their respective communities and individuals.

“Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues, epitomizing our inclusive excellence,” said Papp. “The individuals honored today stand on the shoulders of the others who came before them. It is impossible to mention everyone who contributed to diversity on our campus.”

A member of the KSU President’s Cabinet and a professor of curriculum studies, Malewski pointed to the significance of today’s event. “Today’s event helps us raise the profile of the president’s six commissions on diversity,” Malewski said. “Our mission at KSU is to prepare students who are culturally competent. It’s our ethical responsibility to do so.” He continued, “We acknowledge the contributions these leaders have made in the struggle to recognize, support, encourage, and ultimately to foster the success of communities and individuals who have not always been as welcomed as others.”

Beverly Guy-Sheftall, who is founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College and adjunct professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies, was the keynote speaker at the reception following the awards event. She praised Kennesaw State’s efforts on diversity and inclusiveness, but reminded the audience that many challenges lie ahead “especially at this juncture in our national history.”