Dr. Shawn Long, first Black dean of KSU humanities school dies at 48: UPDATED

KSU bus

UPDATE: a Celebration of Life for Dr. Long will be held in Lexington, KY on January 30 at 1 p.m., and will be livestreamed at clarklegacycenter.com.

Dr. Shawn Long, dean of Kennesaw State University’s Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, died Thursday, Jan. 14 of what the university’s news release described as a serious illness.

Long was 48 years old.

Long became dean of KSU’s RCHSS in July 2019. He was the first Black dean in the college’s history.


During his time at KSU, Long worked toward being accessible to students.

He held weekly “Arnold Palmer with the Dean” meetings in his office. There, students would drink Arnold Palmers with Long and discuss their visions for the college.

Long also created programs geared toward student success before and after graduation.

Retired KSU professor Dr. Robbie Lieberman was Long’s colleague. She sent a statement sharing her memories of Long.

“I had many interactions with Dean Long during his first year at KSU when I was a department chair, and our conversations always reflected a sense of mutual respect. We did not agree on every issue, but I was delighted to have a dean who was so clearly committed to our college, projected a vision, and promoted working across disciplinary lines. Above all, I will miss his humanity.”

KSU Professor Dr. Tim Hedeen was also a colleague of Long and spoke warmly of him.

“Shawn brought energy and vision to our college. He was attentive to the needs of the various groups in our college — students, staff, and faculty. I appreciated his careful attention to shared governance — consultation with faculty and staff on important matters — which he both encouraged and demonstrated in his service at KSU. He will be dearly missed. To his great credit, even when he and I disagreed, he was committed to listening and learning. I’m deeply saddened by his passing, as are my colleagues across campus.”

Arielle Robinson is an undergrad at Kennesaw State University. She is the president of the university’s Society of Professional Journalists and an editor at the KSU Sentinel. She enjoys music, reading poetry and non-fiction books and collecting books and records.