RCHSS dean dies following illness

Kennesaw State confirmed in a news release on Friday, Jan. 15, that Dean of the Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Shawn Long died Thursday after a “serious illness”.

“Shawn Long’s time with us at Kennesaw State was far too short, but he made an indelible impression on students, faculty and staff throughout the University,” KSU President Pamela Whitten said. “Shawn’s dedication to the success of students, and his commitment to the mission of our institution, was unwavering.”

Long joined KSU in the summer of 2019 after a 19-year stint as a faculty member and administrator at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, according to a previous article by the Sentinel.

Upon his arrival, Long became the first black dean of the RCHSS and immediately embarked on a mission to help students thrive. In his first months as dean, Long initiated the PassPort to Success and Transdisciplinary Innovation Hub programs. Additionally, Long made himself accessible to students by hosting twice-weekly chat sessions where students could openly suggest how to improve the RCHSS.

Long’s vision as dean was to elevate the RCHSS to the forefront of research and to create the next generation of change agents and world leaders.

In a separate statement released by the Director of the School of Communication and Media Dr. Barbara Gainey, Long’s accessible and ambitious personality was further elaborated on.

“Before his illness, many of you saw Dean Long in the elevators and hallways, and I’m sure he always had a smile on his face and a good word to share,” Gainey said. “His goal was to have the most impactful college of humanities and social sciences in the country by 2025, and he set us on the path toward that goal.”

The strong impact Long had on the KSU community in his brief tenure was exemplified by the outpouring of support he received on a GoFundMe page created “to keep Shawn uplifted while he is in the hospital and throughout the time he will be receiving treatments.”

The university has made it clear that the efforts made by Long in his time as dean will not be left in the past, and that his impact will continue to be felt for years to come.

“It is important for you to know that we expect the work of Dean Long to continue,” Gainey said. “His focus on student success, social justice, and innovative and collaborative learning will continue to move us forward.”

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