Community members reflect on Savannah State’s first 125 years

Shirley Barber James – Festival Coordinator, Savannah Black Heritage Festival

In 1999, Savannah State University was entrusted by the City of Savannah to be the premiere presenter of the Annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival*. Through the festival, SSU has opened eyes and enhanced knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the significant contributions of African-Americans to the growth and development of the cultural arts in our country.  Thousands of persons of all backgrounds and ages from throughout the city and the region are engaged in this event that is free and open to the public, and one that has grown into a three-week experiential experience that celebrates how the influences of African-Americans are entrenched in all genres of the cultural arts.

*The Savannah Black Heritage Festival, founded in 1989 by the late Westley W. Law, enters its 27th year in 2016. It is presented by Savannah State University and the City of Savannah-Department of Cultural Affairs.

Robert S. Jepson Jr. Founding Chairman of the Board of Visitors, Savannah State University

Savannah State University, its administration, its professors and its students are all engaged in a noble cause, that of expanding young minds and preparing students for lives of significance. I could not be more pleased that in our midst we are fortunate indeed to have an institution that, for 125 years and counting, has proffered higher education to eager young students from not only Georgia and our great nation, but from many other parts of the world as well. GO TIGERS!!

Shirley McDuffie, Ed.D., c/o 1968, High school educator, Clark County (Athens, Ga. Board of Education) Former SSUNAA president, 2005-09

Savannah State is Georgia’s oldest public HBCU, nestled in historic Savannah — Georgia’s first city! With a distinctive and impressive history, Savannah State University is committed to investing in the future by creating opportunities for students in the community and the region, preparing young people to run the world.

Clyde A. Newton, c/o 1993 Employee Development Coordinator, Georgia Power President, Savannah State University National Alumni Association

Savannah State University continues to make a significant difference in the lives of deserving students who aspire to reach their potential in life. SSU is providing opportunities that are enabling our students to become educators, business professionals and leaders in their state, nation and abroad.

Brynn Grant
Chief Operating Officer, Savannah Economic Development Authority
Vice President, World Trade Center Savannah

One of Savannah State University’s greatest contributions to Savannah and Chatham County has been the leadership it has delivered consistently over time. The university has graduated many strong leaders and attracted others to the community as faculty or staff, men and women dedicated to improving the community, the state and the world.


Charles G. Young, c/o 1976
Chairman, Savannah State University Foundation

On behalf of the Savannah State University Foundation, Inc. (SSUF), I want to congratulate SSU on celebrating 125 years of higher educational achievements. The SSUF continues to provide scholarships and academic resources for SSU faculty and students and appreciates the many donors and supporters who have provided assistance over the years.

Gregg Schroeder
President and CEO, United Way of the Coastal Empire

Education is the key to success for many people in America today. We are blessed to have an institution such as Savannah State University in our community providing the foundation for success for youth in our region. Savannah State has proven to be a great partner with our United Way and we are excited about their future.