New scholarship the culmination of 麻豆代天府alumni family success

KENNESAW, Ga. | May 30, 2024

Jacqueline Hand
Jacqueline Hand and her daughters Tanasia Kenney and Tanneka Hylton.
Tanasia Kenney has plenty of childhood memories at 麻豆代天府.

Her mother, former KSU employee Jacqueline Hand, frequently brought her to campus, where she was known as 鈥淛ackie鈥檚 daughter,鈥 and became familiar with staff and faculty. Some of those faculty members were still teaching when it was time to decide if she鈥檇 attend KSU or look a little farther from home.

鈥淭heir knowing me as Jackie鈥檚 daughter and feeling like you have eyes on you all the time, it was a bit intimidating,鈥 Kenney said. 鈥淏ut my mom believed in KSU. She said, 鈥榊ou鈥檝e got a great university here,鈥 and in time, I rolled with it, and my years at KSU were so liberating and fun.鈥

Now a reporter for McClatchy news publications, Kenney is just one member of a KSU alumni family. Her older sister, Tanneka Hylton, join Kenney and Hand as KSU graduates. Hylton graduated in 2006 with a bachelor鈥檚 degree in , Hand in 2007 with a human services degree, and Kenney in 2015 with a communication degree with a .

Recently, they came together to celebrate yet another milestone 鈥 a $25,000 endowed scholarship. Created through Hand鈥檚 generosity, the scholarship will pay educational costs for human services or nursing majors in the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services. Hand鈥檚 passion for human services led her to the non-profit , where she鈥檚 worked for the past 18 years.

After moving her family from New York to Kennesaw in 1999, Hand said taking a job at KSU seemed like a good way to get an education while she worked, but it was also intimidating to be a non-traditional student. Thankfully, her fellow Owls took her under their wings.

鈥淚 was an adult learner taking classes with all these young kids, and I was a little nervous about that,鈥 Hand said. 鈥淏ut I made friends with my professors and other students, and I was encouraged to get involved. That also helped me feel like my daughter, Tanneka, would be taken care of.鈥

Though they didn鈥檛 take the same courses, Hand and Hylton attended classes at the same time and were able to catch up with each other during the school day. Hylton recalls her mother鈥檚 advice to get involved in student groups, professional societies and service organizations, and passes that advice on to incoming students whenever she can.

Now a diversity, equity and inclusion business partner with Warner Bros. Discovery, Hylton said her mother inspired her throughout her time at KSU and continues to motivate her as she gives back to the University through the newly endowed scholarship.

鈥淕oing through my own matriculation at KSU, watching my mom graduate and then watching my sister graduate, it鈥檚 like we鈥檝e built our own little community here,鈥 Hylton said. 鈥淓very time we go back for events, it鈥檚 like coming home. I love that we get to experience that together. Seeing my mom endow this scholarship is a moment of pride, but it鈥檚 also like, 鈥榃ell I can鈥檛 let my mom outdo me,鈥 so when it鈥檚 my time, I鈥檒l need to think about endowing a 蝉肠丑辞濒补谤蝉丑颈辫.鈥

Kenney wasn鈥檛 surprised when her mother decided to invest in the KSU community through an endowment, as she鈥檚 always looked for ways to give back as a student, employee and alumna. But as she鈥檚 grown and propelled herself further into her own career, Kenney鈥檚 appreciation for all that her mother has done for her family during her years at KSU has only deepened.

鈥淚t didn鈥檛 really hit me how much she has juggled until a high school sociology class, where we talked about how some people go to school and come home to raise children and cook and just carry the role of a mother. That鈥檚 when I started thinking, 鈥極h wow, my mom was doing all of that,鈥欌 Kenney said.

鈥淚t gave me flashbacks to sitting in the back of her classes, being on campus and growing and learning at KSU along with her. I think about that a lot.鈥

For Hand, watching her children become so deeply involved at KSU, graduate from the university where she so enjoyed working and earning her own degree and continue to be involved as alumni is a bright spot in her life. But she said the brightest spot in her life will always be watching her daughters leverage their KSU education into successful and fulfilling careers.

鈥淚鈥檓 so proud of both Tanneka and Tanasia. There are students still that tell me they look up to the two of them,鈥 she said, choking up. 鈥淏oth of my daughters being KSU babies 鈥 or owlettes as I call them 鈥 and doing so well for themselves, that makes me very proud. And when I wear that black and gold, I wear it proudly.鈥

鈥 Story by Thomas Hartwell

Photos by Judith Pishnery

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, 麻豆代天府 offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. 麻豆代天府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. 麻豆代天府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 kennesaw.edu.