Longtime DGA Employee Honored at 'Brunch on the Bricks'

For 13 years, Franckline Vernet enjoyed helping Kennesaw State University’s international visitors feel welcome while on campus. As someone who immigrated to the United States from Haiti more than 40 years ago, she appreciated having the opportunity to guide international scholars through the challenges she faced.

Franckline Vernet

Vernet was one of 44 retirees honored on Friday, Oct. 7 at “Brunch on the Bricks.” Organized by the Kennesaw State Retiree’s Association, this annual event held at the Legacy Gazebo recognizes recent University retirees with a ceremony featuring food, musical performances, and guest speakers from across the campus community.

Each retiree also has their name engraved on one of the bricks that make up the path surrounding the gazebo, which ensures that their contributions to the University will be remembered for years to come. The bricks are unveiled each year at “Brunch on the Bricks.”

Franckline Vernet's Brick at the Legacy Gazebo

Vernet is the first person to retire from the relatively young Division of Global Affairs, which was known as the International Center when she started in 2003. Before retiring in early 2016, she held several administrative positions with the Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, the Education Abroad Office, and the Operations Department.

However, she says the most rewarding part of her career was when she worked with the Education Abroad Office to host international students and scholars. Vernet would help organize welcome events for the visitors at the former International House, and would assist them in settling into their new lives at Kennesaw State. It was not uncommon to find Vernet driving international educators to the bank or to the grocery store to pick up essential items they forgot to pack.

Her own experience as an international student at Mercy College in New York influenced how she interacted with visitors.

“When I came from Haiti, the faculty at Mercy University took good care of me,” she says. “I enjoyed paying forward that kindness that had been given to me.”

Vernet earned an accounting degree at Mercy before spending 15 years working there as business manager in the Registrar’s Office.

“Before I graduated college, I was able to help other students as a tutor. So, [Mercy] taught me, and I was teaching others because I knew what it was like to not speak the language.”

At Kennesaw State, Vernet was not only known for her dedication to international students and scholars, but also for her unwavering positive attitude.

“I remember one morning I came in and a lady upstairs had delivered a bouquet of flowers on my desk,” she says. “I asked her why, and she said ‘I gave you these flowers because every day I pass you in the hall and you smile at me and make my day!’”

Since retiring from Kennesaw State, Vernet has spent much of her time volunteering with the elderly.

-Patrick Harbin