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Kennesaw State’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery hosts 11 scholarship winners

CNN Vice President and Senior Editorial Director Richard Griffiths

CNN’s Richard Griffiths keynotes “Celebration of Recovery” at Villa Christina   

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Sept. 17, 2014) —Kennesaw State University’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR) recognized 11 scholarship winners during a “Celebration of Recovery” scholarship breakfast on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Hyatt Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. Richard Griffiths, vice president and senior editorial director for CNN, delivered the keynote address.

CYAAR’s chief fundraising event benefits Kennesaw State’s Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC), which provides a supportive peer community within the campus culture that reinforces a student’s commitment to recovery. By providing social and academic support, students in recovery can be part of the mainstream college experience while putting their recovery and commitment to service first.

“The CRC provides a community of support, a setting where – with professional leadership – the students help support one another, a place where the traditional college life experience is redefined,” Griffiths said. “It’s a place where the students are expected to set goals for themselves.”

Among the scholarship winners are an aspiring veterinarian, bakery owner, rock musician and several counselors. Others include a future accountant, statistician, art gallery owner and behavioral neuroscientist. All are from the metro Atlanta area, but each has a different story to tell.

Winner of the Jeremy Leo Letalien Scholarship

Accounting major: “I’ve been part of the CRC for three years and serve as president of the group,” he said. “I enjoy being of service, traveling and learning about other cultures. I plan to pursue an MBA.”

Winners of the William and Betsy Duffey Scholarship

Applied Statistics graduate student: “I work and go to school, but in my free time I like playing drums and exploring new restaurants,” he said. “I have been sober since 2008 and expect to graduate in May.”

Psychology major: “I plan on graduating next summer and pursuing a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience,” he said. Sober since 2012, he works but maintains a 4.0 GPA and serves as treasurer of the CRC.

Information Systems Securities and Assurances major: “My goal is to graduate in the fall of 2018. I’m currently employed and enjoy building LED light systems for reef aquariums,” he said. A loyal member of 12-step fellowship, on weekends he likes playing pool with his friends.

Biology major: “I’m a big animal lover and want to become a veterinarian,” she said. A grateful member of the CRC, she has a 3.45 GPA and has been sober from heroin since July of 2010.

Winners of the Scott Edward Duffey Scholarship

Communications major: A student assistant for the CYAAR, she is currently part of the leadership of the CRC. “I will graduate in December of next year and then I want to and pursue a communications career.”

Social Work graduate student: He received his B.A. in psychology in May from KSU and was in graduate school when he passed away. An active advocate for the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation, he had a passion for serving others. “He always considered himself to be blessed with the opportunity to help others, allowing them to recover and reclaim their lives,” said a close friend.

Winners of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery Board Scholarship

Psychology major with a minor in statistics: “I play drums in a local band and I plan to graduate next spring,” he said without missing a beat. “Playing and listening to music is very therapeutic!”

Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality major: “This will be my second undergraduate degree,” she said. “I have been in recovery from an eating disorder since October 2012, and I hope to open my own bakery and go into therapeutic cooking.” She volunteers weekends at The Phoenix House, a transitional living house for women recovering from eating disorders.

Psychology major: “I am an adult learner and I have been in recovery for five years. I am grateful for the opportunity to be in college and receiving this wonderful CYAAR Scholarship,” she said. “I plan to earn a Ph.D. and continue bereavement counseling in support of widows, widowers and their families.”

Teresa Wren Johnston, LPC, the Center’s founding director, said she is proud of the accomplishments of the 11 scholarship recipients and all 65 CYAAR students at KSU.

“In the final analysis, they are all winners because they are pursuing their dream of earning a college education,” Johnston said. “By providing social and academic support, students in CYAAR can be part of the mainstream college experience while putting their recovery and commitment to service first.”

CYAAR Run for RecoverySept. 27, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.

Each year hundreds of runners from all over participate in this run/walk around the Kennesaw State campus. The Run for Recovery 5k is a benefit run or walk to heighten community awareness about those recovering from an addiction and to raise funds to support the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR). The Run takes place every year in September, during National Recovery Month.



Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 24,600 from 130 countries.

-- Robert S. Godlewski




College of Continuing and Professional Education claims top honors

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KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept. 17, 2014) – Kennesaw State University's College of Continuing and Professional Education recently received nine awards from two highly respected adult learning organizations. This brings the total to 14 awards won by the college in 2014, topping the previous record of eight awards in 2012.

The most recent honors come from the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) and the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) which announced national and regional (UPCEA South) winners.

“We are truly honored and excited to be recognized by these awards,” Barbara S. Calhoun, dean, said. “We have a strong, hard-working team sharing the same ultimate goal – to empower those through lifelong learning.”

The nine awards won include:


  • Outstanding Service to Continuing Education – Brenda Lora, marketing production manager
  • Professional Continuing Educator Award – Michelle Girage, assistant dean
  • Program of Excellence, Noncredit – Paralegal Certificate
  • Emerging Continuing Education Leader – Karen Smith, strategic initiatives manager
  • Engagement Award – Training for International Educators (TIE) Program
  • Continuing Education Student Award – Moises Arroyo 

UPCEA Marketing

  • Publications: Newsletter – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Newsletter
  • Interactive Media Campaign – Promotional Videos (Information Systems Security, Paralegal and OLLI programs)


  • Outstanding Service Medallion – Barbara S. Calhoun, dean

“This demonstrates the uniqueness and talent of our entire staff,” said Michelle Girage, assistant dean. “We are humbled and thrilled by this recognition. It’s sure to inspire us moving forward.”

“I’m honored to work with such an amazing team of individuals who have developed outstanding programs to meet the training needs in our area,” said Tamara Grooms, assistant dean. “I’m elated to see their accomplishments are being recognized by regional as well as national organizations.”

The college received honors earlier this year from two education associations. In March, the Georgia Adult Education Association recognized the college for the following: Innovative Marketing Award (2013 Casino Night Scholarship Fundraiser), Innovative Program Award (2014 Winter Career Expo) and Exemplary Service Contribution Award (Casino Night Scholarship Fundraiser Advisory Board Members). In August, the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) honored the college by bestowing the Individual Leadership Award to Calhoun and the Crystal Marketing Award for the 2013 Casino Night Scholarship Fundraiser.


Photo: From left to right are (front row) Cheryl Rodewig, social media specialist; Lyn Cohen, program manager for Languages; Barbara S. Calhoun, dean; Michelle Girage, assistant dean; (back row) Davia Lassiter, marketing manager; Robert Smith, assistant marketing director; Jason Brown, copywriter;  and Jennifer Henderson, program manager for Paralegal, HR and Payroll certificates.

The College of Continuing and Professional Education serves nearly 17,000 students annually and offers more than 50 professional certificate programs and 350 online courses. The College also houses the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Summer University. 

Computerworld honors Kennesaw State University for big data initiatives

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University ranked with Google and Cisco for innovation and real-world use of expanding technology

Click here for the video

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Sept. 8, 2014) — Kennesaw State University was one of only two universities ranked by Computerworld in its annual Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards, which recognize organizations for big data initiatives that have delivered significant business value.

Kennesaw State was among 20 organizations such as Google, Intel, Cisco, ThomsonReuters and Merck & Co., to earn the 2014 award. Only two universities were named to the list: Kennesaw State and Emory University, both Georgia higher education institutions.

“It is an honor for Kennesaw State to be recognized for our approach to big data analytics,” said Mark Anderson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “Our program blends statistics with mathematics and computer science, and makes us a leader in big data education. This award is a manifestation of the success of our strong interdisciplinary academic partnerships.”

Computerworld’s Data+ Editors’ Choice honorees were selected not only for their innovative use of analytics to achieve business benefits through big data, but also for their ability to demonstrate real-world results and help establish best practices for other IT practitioners in a rapidly expanding technology area. The awards program was launched in 2013 to recognize organizations that are mining big data to analyze and predict business trends and monetize this information.

According to Jennifer Lewis Priestley, professor of statistics and data science at Kennesaw State, the university was honored for its Master of Science in Applied Statistics program, which uses real-world data in the classroom in partnership with the SAS Institute, the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.

“Our students deal with real data, not just theoretical concepts,” Priestley said. “We challenge our students to translate big data into information to support the decision-making process in organizations. It can be challenging to study statistics         at Kennesaw State because our students are required to understand data from every angle, including required proficiency in mathematics, statistics, programming and computer science, as well as areas of application such as finance, economics and healthcare.”

Students in Kennesaw State’s Master of Science in Applied Statistics program tout a 100 percent job placement rate upon graduation, with many students landing multiple job offers, according to Priestley.

“This year’s honorees have clearly demonstrated how their innovative strategies use data and analytics to make better business decisions, streamline processes and, in some cases, generate new revenue by tapping into new markets or creating ancillary data-based services,” said Scot Finnie, editor in chief, Computerworld.

Kennesaw State’s Priestley has been invited to speak at the Data+ conference in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 7-9, regarding the university’s unique approach to data analytics education and how it addresses the issues, challenges and opportunities for the next generation of analytical talent.

For a full list of the Data+ honorees, visit

For more information about Kennesaw State’s statistics program, please visit


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Georgia manufacturing activity rebounds for August


Upswing in new orders drives up production and finished inventory

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Sept. 2, 2014) — Georgia manufacturing activity experienced a rebound in August after a volatile July, according to the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released today by Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. The Georgia PMI for August increased 12.9 points to 61.3, moving it slightly above the six-month average of 58.2.

According to the report, four of the five PMI components increased in August. Higher new orders led to higher production, supplier delivery time and finished inventory. Georgia’s August rebound for new orders may be readjusting to seasonal influence, according to Don Sabbarese, co-director of the Econometric Center and professor of economics at Kennesaw State University.  

“August employment’s 4.0-point decrease was the only PMI component to drop,” Sabbarese said. “Although the employment reading fell to 56.5 points, it still remains at a level steady with positive growth. Since August’s PMI is consistent with its long-term growth path, it suggests July’s reading was an aberration.”  

For August, 30 percent of respondents reported future production expectations increasing for the next three to six months. This is down from 42 percent of respondents in July.

Other highlights from the August PMI:

  • New orders up 21.4 points to 60.9, 1.6 points below its six-month average
  • Production up 19.6 points to 69.6, 5.8 points above its six-month average
  • Employment down 4.0 points to 56.5, 2.8 points below its six-month average
  • Supplier delivery up 1.7 points to 54.3, 2.3 points below its six-month average
  • Finished inventory up 25.7 points to 65.2, 16.5 points above its six-month average
  • Commodity prices up 7.8 points to 63, 3.5 points above its six-month average

The Georgia PMI provides a snapshot of manufacturing activity in the state, just as the monthly PMI released by the Institute for Supply Management provides a picture of national manufacturing activity. A PMI reading above 50 indicates that manufacturing activity is expanding; a reading below 50 indicates it is contracting.  The PMI reading is a composite of five variables — new orders, production, employment, supply deliveries and finished inventory. A sixth variable, commodity prices, is compiled by the Coles College’s Econometric Center but does not go into the PMI calculation.

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Kennesaw State student project among three collegiate finalists for international online journalism award

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Five students produced story of a local mother’s struggle to recover from meth addiction  

KENNESAW, Ga.  (August 26, 2014) — A multimedia story of a mother’s struggles to recover from methamphetamine addiction by a team of five Kennesaw State University student journalists is among the top three collegiate finalists in the 2014 Online Journalism Award competition.

The team’s story package placed in one of only two categories for student journalists — Student Projects, Large — in the competition, which honors excellence in data journalism, visual digital storytelling, investigative journalism, public service and technical innovation. The competition is sponsored by the Online News Association, the world’s largest association of online journalists. Winners in each of 33 award categories will be announced Sept. 27.

The students’ package, titled “Battling Meth: A Mother’s Road to Recovery,” is an in-depth profile documenting Georgia native Lindsay Curio’s struggles with motherhood and meth addiction. The story integrates text, video, audio and intimate photography. It was produced during the fall 2013 semester and distributed nationally in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE) digital magazine, published by the Center for Sustainable Journalism (CSJ) at Kennesaw State University.

The student journalists — Shaddi Abusaid, Daniela Duron, Elizabeth Keener, Roger Newton and Lindsay Walker — produced the package while they were seniors in a capstone course in their Journalism and Citizen Media program in the Department of Communication. They all have since graduated with bachelor’s degrees in communication. 

"We are so excited that these students’ multimedia package was recognized as one of three finalists in this prestigious, international competition,” said Barbara Gainey, chair of Kennesaw State’s Department of Communication. “It is especially gratifying that the students’ project was honored along with the very best content produced online by professional journalists.”

The package tells of Curio’s first drug usage, a rape she experienced, the loss of her first two children, her sister’s own struggles with meth, her recovery and the anguish her parents felt, while never giving up on her. The students spent their time in the field and in Curio’s own environment and produced a package designed for the text to move to the video and photographs and then back to the text seamlessly.

“In every sense, this is student journalism at its best,” said Leonard Witt, a distinguished professor and executive director of the Center for Sustainable Journalism, who taught the capstone class. “This package reflects the strong foundational education in journalism and multimedia that our students have received. We’re all very proud of their accomplishment.”

Previous collegiate competition finalists have represented some of the nation’s leading journalism programs at such institutions as the University of California – Berkley Graduate School of Journalism, Boston University, University of Miami and University of North Carolina. The 2014 finalists in the student project-large category — produced with more than three students — also include the NYCity News Service at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and News21 at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Department Chair Gainey added: “Journalism and Citizen Media is the newest undergraduate program within the Department of Communication, and we anticipate that this is just the first of many accolades that our student journalists will receive."

View more about the competition and see the finalists in all the categories here:


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, includingdoctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 24,600 from 130 countries.

Kennesaw State president named one of Atlanta’s 55 “Most Admired” CEOs

Daniel S. Papp recognized as one of 5 top education CEOs by the Atlanta Business Chronicle
KENNESAW, Ga.  (Aug. 22, 2014) — The Atlanta Business Chronicle today named Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp one of Atlanta’s 55 “Most Admired CEOs” at a breakfast at the Cobb Energy Centre.
Papp, along with the presidents of Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and Mercer University, and Jo Kirchner of Primrose Schools, were named winners in the education category.
In its inaugural event, the publication recognized executives who are established leaders with a strong record of innovation in their field, outstanding financial performance, a commitment to quality, a strong vision and a commitment to diversity.
Since taking the helm at Kennesaw State in 2006, Papp has implemented and overseen many significant milestones as the institution continues its rise in national prominence. The university now enrolls more than 24,600 students from 130 different countries and offers 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees.
KSU graduated its first doctoral student in 2010 and now offers doctorates in education, business, nursing and international conflict management. Last year, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents designated Kennesaw State as a “comprehensive university,” emphasizing the University’s increase in research, graduate programs and global engagement.
Many new facilities have also gone up under Papp’s watch, including the $50 million Prillaman Hall; a $20 million addition to the Bagwell College of Education, which graduates more teachers each year than any other University System of Georgia institution; and a $21 million facility dedicated entirely to scientific teaching and research. The Science Lab Addition contains high-tech biology and chemistry labs and solidifies KSU’s position as the largest producer of science and math teachers in the state.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of 24,600 from 130 countries.

Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth is expanding

Academy students with community partners

Program is piloting a third year, planning study abroad trip

The Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth at Kennesaw State University kicked off the new school year with a reception honoring campus and community partners, as well as some big news – a “junior year” for students.

“In social work, when we work with people with different abilities, it’s important to partner with different organizations in the community because each brings different  things to the table that allow people with different abilities to spread their wings and fly,” interim WellStar College of Health and Human Services Dean Monica Nandan said. “All of these partnerships help nurture the Academy to its fullest potential.”

Representatives with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Kennesaw State’s Office of Legal Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Research were all on hand. Several Academy students and alumni were also at the reception.

“There are three other universities coming on board (with academies),” said Eric Jacobson, executive director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. “This is a dream that a lot of people have that is now coming true, and y’all were the leaders in that.”

Launched in 2009, the Academy offers a unique two-year certificate program designed to provide students with intellectual and developmental disabilities a college experience through the auditing of college-level courses, as well as courses designed to help them gain social, work and living skills, so they can find jobs they want and become more independent. It is one of 250 such programs nationwide, and the only one of its kind in Georgia.

“You learn about life on campus; you don’t learn about life at home,” said Gregory Schmieg, executive director of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. “We have one vision: that every Georgian live and work independently as they choose.”

Two new developments at the Academy were also announced during the reception: the Academy launched a pilot third-year program beginning this year; and the Academy has received a grant to travel with students overseas next year.

--By Jennifer Hafer

Kennesaw State kicks off “Year of the Arabian Peninsula”


Exhibit on Arab-Americans in service to the U.S. launches yearlong study    

KENNESAW, Ga.  (August 20, 2014) — A newly installed exhibit titled “Patriots and Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to our Country” marks the beginning of the “Year of the Arabian Peninsula,” Kennesaw State University’s 31st annual study of a country or region of the world.

The multimedia exhibit, produced by the Arab American National Museum courtesy of the Alif Institute, features images, narratives and artifacts depicting the participation of Arab Americans in the U.S. armed services, diplomatic service and the Peace Corps. It is on display in the Atrium of Kennesaw State’s Social Sciences Building (#22), with an opening reception scheduled for Thursday, August 28, at 5 p.m.

 The exhibit is the first of a series of more than three dozen lectures and cultural events that will be featured at Kennesaw State throughout the “Year of the Arabian Peninsula,” a study of a region comprising seven countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

“This year’s study of the Arabian Peninsula promises to be an exciting and enlightening learning opportunity, and it comes at a critical juncture when this region is playing such a pivotal role on the world stage,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State’s chief international officer and executive director of the University’s Division of Global Affairs . “The ‘Patriots and Peacemakers’ exhibit sets the tone for what we hope will be an engaging study of a geographically expansive, culturally diverse and complex region, and of the relations its people have developed throughout the world.”

A full schedule of “Year of the Arabian Peninsula” events during the fall and spring semesters can be viewed at Highlights of upcoming fall 2014 events include:

·       9/20Year of Arabian Peninsula Day”featuring traditional music, dance and attire, henna hand-painting, Arabic calligraphy, regional folktales by the KSU Tellers and food tasting. University Place Amphitheatre, 2 p.m.

·       9/30-10/1Hijab for a Day, a participatory event, inviting women to learn the culture of the Islamic head covering, wear the hijab and share their experiences. Student Center, Leadership Room, #205, 12:30 p.m.

·       10/01-10/31“Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence: Oman's Message of Islam,” an exhibit from the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman, Social Sciences Atrium (Bldg. #22)

·       11/7 —“Women of Oman: Changing Roles & Transnational Influence,”an international conference, co-sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, Social Sciences (Bldg. #22), Room 1021, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

In addition to these special events, Kennesaw State has invited scholars from across the country, as well as local and regional scholars, to deliver weekly lectures, which are open to the public.  An eight-member faculty learning community will be conducting research, planning study abroad programs and participating in faculty exchanges at partnering universities and institutions in Arabian Peninsula countries.

“A very dedicated group of Kennesaw State scholars and global partners have devoted more than two years to planning the ‘Year of the Arabian Peninsula,’ with outstanding results,” said Dan Paracka, the Division of Global Affairs’ director for academic initiatives. “The study of other countries and cultures provides a mirror of reflection for our own. It is our hope that a critical understanding of world history and American involvement in the Arab world will develop a more nuanced approach to solving compex global issues and challenges, and improve our ability to interact with this region more constructively, responsibly and appropriately.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 24,600 from 130 countries.



Kennesaw State ranks in top five for “Best Colleges for Food in America” by The Daily Meal

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University’s Culinary and Hospitality Services earns accolade for third consecutive year

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Aug. 19, 2014) — Kennesaw State University was ranked fourth among the “75 Best Colleges for Food in America” by The Daily Meal, an online publication dedicated to culinary trends and news.  This is the third time that Kennesaw State has earned a spot in the ranking’s top 10.

The Daily Meal’s third annual ranking researched nearly 2,000 four-year colleges in America to create its 75 best colleges list for 2014.  Kennesaw State earned the No. 4 spot, behind Bowdoin College, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University. Two other Georgia institutions were included in the annual college food ranking: Emory University and the University of Georgia.

The Daily Meal used criteria such as nutrition and sustainability, accessibility and service, education and events, the surrounding area, and other special features that individual college dining facilities offer. These judging points focused on well-balanced healthy food, food preference accommodations, dining hall hours, proximity to on-campus living, and nutrition and culinary education.

“Let’s face it: college dining halls are not typically culinary havens. Thankfully, though, there are more than a few colleges across the United States that go above and beyond when it comes to their dining services,” wrote Sidney Harrison, a writer for The Daily Meal.

This recognition is the latest in a string of accolades for Kennesaw State’s Culinary and Hospitality Services, which received the National Restaurant Association’s Operator Innovation Award for Sustainability for its “Farm-to-Campus-to-Farm” program in 2013 and was a finalist in the health and nutrition category in 2014.  Last year, the University claimed the association’s top prize — Innovator of the Year — the first time an educational institution had been selected to receive the prestigious industry award, besting organizations including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the U.S. Air Force.

Kennesaw State’s Culinary and Hospitality Services provides meals to more than 30,000 guests weekly in its on-campus dining facility, The Commons. As part of its farm-to-campus initiative, The Commons offers global cuisine across nine venues with menus that change daily.

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