A Season of Celebration


In this final Written by Whitten for 2018, I want to reflect on the life-changing milestone obtained by roughly 2,500 Owls. KSU’s newest graduates tossed their caps into a new world of opportunity last week. I join all the dedicated KSU faculty and staff in wishing all of our new graduates a successful future.

So many of our graduates are moving on to exciting careers. Kim Hertz, who graduated last week with a degree in software engineering and who came to KSU after serving in the Israel Defense Forces, plans to graduate with a master’s degree only three semesters from now thanks to her participation in KSU’s Accelerated Bachelor’s-Master’s Degree program; Elias Escobedo, the first in his family to receive a college degree, will be joining Home Depot full time after having previously interned with them in the area of user experience design; and fraternal twins Amber and Chris Goden are both headed toward careers related to forensics—Chris will work with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and Amber will continue her education at KSU as she pursues a master’s in criminal justice so she can work in forensic psychology. Of course, some graduates were furthering their capabilities in their existing fields, such as the principal of Pope High School in Cobb County, Dr. Thomas Flugum, who earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. I remind our newest graduates: once an Owl, always an Owl. Please come home to see us often. And, of course, we would be delighted to see many of you come back and join us as graduate students someday.

KSU also witnessed an array of other accomplishments over the past few weeks as well. Students from our College of the Arts delighted the campus and surrounding community with extraordinary musical and dance performances; and KSU students on the gridiron made an exciting run all the way to the quarterfinals in only the program’s fourth year, cementing their status as a powerhouse football team.

Our faculty demonstrated impressive scholarly accomplishments across multiple disciplines. Dr. Tom Okie, an associate professor from the Department of History and Philosophy, for example, was awarded the Georgia Historical Society’s Bell Award for writing the best book covering Georgia history last year. And Dr. Daniel Morris from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology just received a three-year NIH grant for his work with genes. At the annual Chili ‘N Cheer event, our Human Resources office, myself and others honored staff and faculty who have demonstrated dedication to the university and its mission through many years of service, including David Ayers, who works in Facility Services and has been with us for 40 years.

As we slow down across the university over the holiday break, I, like many of you, will take advantage of this time to celebrate with family and friends. My husband, Jason, and I feel particularly fortunate to gather together our family and enjoy our own traditions. We feel even more blessed to include the KSU community as family now. Whether it means a welcome break from taking or teaching classes or a short reprieve from keeping the campuses beautiful and operational, please enjoy these final days of 2018.

I wish you all a Hooty Hoo Happy Holidays and look forward to all 2019 has in store for this great university.

Pamela Whitten


Written By Whitten