A History in Objects – The Olympic Costume

The Olympic Costume

On display from time to time is a circular, surreal black and gold costume. It was designed by Peter Minshall, a noted international carnival designer. Minshall was hired to create the costumes for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The costume is housed in the Savannah State archives because it was worn by Loris Boyd-Johnson, then a dance instructor and director of the SSU Dance Ensemble.


Boyd-Johnson was invited to participate in the opening ceremonies for the centennial games, quite literally bringing Savannah State’s presence to a global stage. “The Olympics is such a worldwide event that you may get to be a part of only once in your life,” she recalls.

From the premier international event to individual experiences world wide, these vibrant international connections are an inherent part of Savannah State.

Savannah State currently has 32 memorandums of understanding with foreign universities in 14 countries. And with the newly opened Confucius Institute, students can learn Chinese language and culture from native speakers and special guests.

Each year, SSU welcomes students from around the world.  In fall of 2014, 47 students from abroad chose to study at SSU for at least a semester.

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The English Language Institute was established at SSU to help international students with language skills and with the transition to a new country. Students are able to practice their English with native speakers and visit nearby cultural sites.

Throughout the year, SSU leads trips abroad. Students learn outside the classroom in places like Vietnam, Paris, Liberia, the United Kingdom and China. They come back with credits toward their degree, a stamp in their passport and so much more.

This story first appeared in Impressions, Fall 2015