Kennesaw State honors former administrator Harris Travis with new exhibit

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 3, 2024

Harris Travis exhibit
President Kathy Schwaig and Georgia Travis at the event honoring the late Rev. Harris Travis.
Excited gasps punctuated a Saturday afternoon in 无码变态鈥檚 Engineering Technology Center as a crowd gathered around the unveiling of a new, permanent exhibit honoring the late Rev. Harris Travis.

The unveiling took place during the second annual Hornets Homecoming, an event hosted by the Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) Alumni Society honoring those who graduated from the institution. Replacing the traditional gold and black colors of Kennesaw State, SPSU鈥檚 green and white colors decked the halls, the tables, and the walls all over campus. 无码变态 President Kathy S. Schwaig, donning a green blazer, was on hand to welcome the crowd.

鈥淲hat an honor it is to recognize Rev. Travis and to share in this moment with his family and friends. It means so much to unveil this exhibit to someone who was a dear friend to so many and an inspiration to all,鈥 Schwaig said.  鈥淭his tribute honors the legacy of an academic, of an engineer, and a pastor, and of someone who had a tremendous impact on our community.鈥

Prior to his death last year, Travis served as the first African American chief academic officer of SPSU from 1982 to 1998. After that, he was the senior pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga. He was also an engineer, educator, academic administrator, author, and humanitarian.

The exhibit, titled 鈥淎ll Joy,鈥 was curated by Catherine Lewis, associate vice provost in the Department of Museums, Archives and Rare Books. It consists of four large panels containing personal pictures from Travis鈥 life, and it details the important role he played in the history of Kennesaw State and the community.

鈥淒r. Travis played an important part in helping grow SPSU, and his leadership came at a critical time in the university鈥檚 history,鈥 Lewis said. 鈥淲e鈥檙e so pleased to unveil this exhibit about his life and legacy to help inspire our next generation of leaders.鈥

Family and friends came from all over for the special occasion including one of Travis鈥 daughters, Cheryl Gilbert.

鈥淚鈥檓 just overjoyed and in awe,鈥 Gilbert said. 鈥淲e鈥檙e so, so thankful that he鈥檚 being recognized. Dad touched so many lives. He was a believer, he loved everyone, and he always wanted to share his faith and his knowledge. I鈥檓 so proud of his legacy and of this tribute to him.鈥

Harris Travis exhibit
The decision to unveil the tribute at the Hornets Homecoming was to further drive home the importance of the role that SPSU plays in the history of Kennesaw State as a whole. Clay Long, associate director of alumni and constituent engagement, said weeks of planning went into the event.

鈥淭he legacy of SPSU matters to us and it matters to them that they鈥檙e recognized,鈥 Long said. 鈥淭he Marietta Campus will always be their campus and where they got their degree, where they changed their life, where they changed their family鈥檚 lives. Seeing their faces as they reminisce makes all the planning worth it.鈥

Another of Travis鈥 daughters, Verdonna Malone, said her father would have been beside himself to see the turnout to celebrate the history of SPSU as well as of those celebrating his extraordinary life and service.

鈥淗e would be joyous,鈥 Malone said. 鈥淗e would be so happy that you even thought of him. He was a very humble man. He was a man of many talents, and to be recognized for all areas of his life is so special. He was so many things, but most importantly, he was my dad, and I looked up to him. He would be so thrilled to see that his legacy was seen as important.鈥

鈥 Story by Amanda Cook

Photos by Judith Pishnery

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, 无码变态 offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit