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Savannah State University

Savannah State University
Latin: Lux Et Veritas
Former names
Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth,
Georgia State College,
Savannah State College
Motto (Latin: Light and Truth)
Established November 26, 1890[1][2]
Type Public, HBCU[3]
Endowment $4,348,674[4]
President Cheryl Davenport Dozier[5] [A]
Administrative staff
Students 3,400

Savannah, Georgia,
United States

32°1′30″N 81°3′50″W / 32.02500°N 81.06389°W / 32.02500; -81.06389Coordinates: 32°1′30″N 81°3′50″W / 32.02500°N 81.06389°W / 32.02500; -81.06389{{#coordinates:32|1|30|N|81|3|50|W|type:edu_region:US-GA |primary |name=

Campus Script error: No such module "convert"., coastal setting[6]
Athletic Director Sterling Steward Jr.
Colors Burnt Orange and Reflex Blue
Athletics NCAA Division I
Sports football
basketball (m)
basketball (w)
cross-country (m)
cross-country (w)
tennis (m)
tennis (w)
track and field (m)
track and field (w)
volleyball (w)
golf (m)
softball (w)
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC)

Savannah State University is a four-year, state-supported, historically black university (HBCU) located in Savannah, Georgia.[3] Savannah State is the oldest public historically black university in Georgia.[7] Savannah State University's mission statement is "to graduate students who are prepared to perform at higher levels of economic productivity, social responsibility, and excellence in their chosen career fields of endeavor in a changing global community.".[8] The University is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Savannah State operates three colleges (College of Business Administration, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Sciences and Technology) and the Office of Graduate Studies and Sponsored Research (OGSSR).[8] It also participates in research centers and programs (Center for Teaching, Learning and Academic Support, Savannah Entrepreneurial Center, The Midtown Project, the Georgia Institute of Technology [Georgia Tech] Regional Engineering Program [GTREP], and "A Collaboration to Integrate Research and Education in Marine and Environmental Science and Biotechnology" with the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, part of the University of Georgia).[8][9][10]


The student body consists of 4,915 graduate and undergraduate students, and 385 full-time instructional faculty.[11]


Academic oversight

Oversight is provided by the University System of Georgia, the organizational body that sets goals and dictates general policy to all public educational institutions in Georgia.


Savannah State is a public institution, receiving funds from the State of Georgia, tuition, fees, research grants, private scholarship funds (including the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and the Tom Joyner Foundation), and alumni contributions.[12] The University System of Georgia is governed by the Georgia Board of Regents and dispenses public funds (allocated by the state's legislature) to Savannah State, excluding lottery-funded HOPE Scholarships. The university's endowment was $2,433,508[4] As of FY05, the university's budget was $42,155,964.[13] In FY06, the university received $7,725,311 in Research, Instruction, and Public Service Contracts and Grants.[14]


SSU's History at a glance
1890 Established as Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth [15]
1891 Relocated from Athens, Georgia to Savannah, Georgia [16]
1921 First female students admitted as campus residents.[2][17]
1928 College became a full four-year degree-granting institution as high school and normal programs were removed.[2][17]
1932 Renamed Georgia State College [2][17]
1947 Land-grant designation transferred to Fort Valley State College).[2]
1950 Renamed Savannah State College [2]
1996 Renamed Savannah State University [8]


Savannah State University was originally founded as a result of the Second Morrill Land Grant Act of August 30, 1890.[8] The act mandated that southern and border states develop land grant colleges for black students, as their systems were segregated. On November 26, 1890 the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation creating the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth.[15]

A preliminary session of the school was held in the Baxter Street School Building in Athens, Georgia where Richard R. Wright Sr. was principal.[17] The college operated in Athens for several months in 1891 before moving to its permanent location in Savannah on October 7, 1891, with Wright as the first president.[16] The school had five faculty members. Its eight students were all graduates of Edmund Asa Ware High School, the first public high school for blacks in Augusta.[17]

Early years

The college awarded its first baccalaureate degree in 1898.[2] In 1921 the first female students were admitted as residents on the campus.[2][17] In 1928 the college became a full four-year degree-granting institution and ended the high school and normal school programs. Normal schools had been created in the 19th century in many state systems in the United States, after the German model, to educate teachers for elementary school students. With the expansion of towns across the United States, and continuing issues in trying to educate four million freedmen and their descendants, there was an urgent need to establish many new schools and to quickly train teachers in the North and the South. States used normal schools for training teachers for primary school grades and sometimes secondary school as well. Normal schools or colleges tended to have two or three-year programs. Gradually the normal schools were converted to full colleges with four-year curricula or were left behind.[2][17]

In 1932 the college became a full member institution of the University System of Georgia and its name was changed to Georgia State College.[2][17] The college served as Georgia’s land-grant institution for African-American students until 1947. The designation was then transferred to Fort Valley State College.[2] In January 1950, the college changed its name to Savannah State College.[2]

Modern history

With the growth in its graduate and research programs, in 1996 the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia elevated Savannah State College to the status of state university and the name was changed to Savannah State University.[8]

Savannah State University is the first institution in the state of Georgia to offer the homeland security degree program. It was the second institution in the University System of Georgia to offer wireless Internet connectivity to students throughout the campus.[7][18]

Students may choose from 23 accredited undergraduate baccalaureate and 5 graduate master’s degree programs offered through the university's colleges. The University has developed new partnerships that expand the range of programs and resources for students. Taking advantage of its location on the coast, the university's Marine Biology Department operates two research vessels: the R/V Sea Otter (a Script error: No such module "convert". twin diesel vessel owned by NOAA) and the R/V Tiger (a Script error: No such module "convert". outboard work boat).[23] In the fall of 2007 Savannah State teamed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to offer a new course in environmental regulations, so students can deepen understanding of policy and implementation issues. The program also helps them learn about specific environmental topics.[24]

Savannah State University administers an HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention and awareness program funded by a grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.[25]

Specialized accreditations

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Savannah State University also has achieved fully accredited programs in specialized areas of science and engineering:

Additionally, the Chemistry department is American Chemical Society (ACS) certified.[26]

The Bachelor and Masters programs in Social Work are accredited by the (Council on Social Work Education), and the Masters in Public Administration by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

The College of Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International[8] and the Mass Communications Department is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).[27]


Savannah State University is located approximately Script error: No such module "convert". east southeast from the center of Savannah, Georgia, Script error: No such module "convert". from Atlanta, Georgia, and Script error: No such module "convert". from Jacksonville, Florida.[28] The campus is accessible from Interstate 95 and Interstate 16.[6] Spanish moss drapes the dense live oak trees, while palm trees, magnolias, and a wide variety of azaleas, camellias, and other native plants are scattered throughout the Script error: No such module "convert". marsh-side campus.

Early years

The original campus consisted of Script error: No such module "convert". and three buildings (Boggs Hall, Parsons Hall and a farmhouse), with Script error: No such module "convert". of the land serving as the school's farm.[29] Several of the campus' older buildings were originally constructed by students and faculty members, and display architectural styles from the past century.[6]

Historic facilities

The Georgia Historical Commission and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have recognized both the Savannah State campus and Hill Hall as a part of the Georgia Historical Marker Program.[30]

Hill Hall

Hill Hall at Savannah State College
Location Savannah, Georgia

32°01′27″N 81°03′23″W / 32.02417°N 81.05639°W / 32.02417; -81.05639{{#coordinates:32|01|27|N|81|03|23|W|region:US-GA_type:edu | |name=

Built 1901
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Classical Revival
Governing body Georgia Board of Regents
NRHP Reference # 81000197
Added to NRHP 1981
Walter Bernard Hill Hall, built between 1900 and 1901 by students studying manual arts and blacksmithing, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.[31][32] The facility had a variety of uses, including a bookstore, student center, male dormitory, and library. Needing too much renovation for continued use, the building was closed in 1996. The university and community created the Hill Hall Restoration Project to raise money for the project. After restoration, the building was reopened in 2008.[31] It houses the university's Enrollment Management Center, a presidential suite, administrative offices, a lecture hall, a banquet room, and a small museum.[33]

Athletic facilities

File:SSU jet.jpg
CDR Donnie Cochran at the dedication ceremony for the A4 Memorial on the campus of Savannah State University on May 10, 1991.Photo courtesy of Savannah State University, NROTC.

Tiger Arena is the 6,000-seat multi-purpose arena which serves as the home for the university's basketball team and athletic department offices. Ted A. Wright Football Stadium is the home of the university's football team and has an Olympic outdoor track. The 7,500-seat multi-purpose stadium opened in 1967. The track was constructed in 1995.[34]

Recent additions

On October 15, 2007 Savannah State broke ground on a new academic building which was dedicated on May 1, 2009.[35][36] It is the first building constructed on the campus since 1986 and includes 10 classrooms, three lecture rooms, three computer labs, and an applied research and observation labs.[36][37] The building also houses the Africana studies exhibit, the Dean of Humanities and faculty offices, the Public Administration/Urban Studies and the Social Work and Social and Behavioral Sciences departments.[37]

Student life

The university offers organized and informal co-curricular activities including 75 student organizations, leadership workshops, 15 intramural activities, student publications and student internships.[38]

Wesleyan Gospel Choir

The SSU Wesleyan Gospel Choir was established in 1971.[39] In 2004 the choir completed and released a live album, entitled RLW: "Revelation, Love, & Worship".[40] Members of the Wesleyan Gospel Choir participated in the NBCAHF Inaugural Gospel Explosion competition in 2006 and the International Gospel Retreat which aired on The Word Network.[39] In 2007 the choir performed at the Dr. Bobby Jones International Gospel Music Industry Retreat which was also broadcast on The Word Network. The choir performed with Ann Nesby during the 13th annual Savannah Black Heritage Festival.[41]

Marching Tiger band

File:SSU band.jpg
Savannah State University's Marching Band during the 2008 Homecoming Celebration
The university band, nicknamed the "Coastal Empire Sound Explosion", performs during Savannah State football games. They were featured performers in the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2004 and 2005.

National fraternities and sororities

All nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations currently have chapters at Savannah State University.[42][43] These organizations are:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚA Gamma Upsilon ΓΥ
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ Delta Eta ΔΗ
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ Delta Nu ΔΝ
Iota Phi Theta IΦΘ Eta Gamma ΗΓ
Kappa Alpha Psi ΚΑΨ Gamma Chi ΓΧ
Omega Psi Phi ΩΨΦ Alpha Gamma ΑΓ
Phi Beta Sigma ΦΒΣ Gamma Zeta ΓΖ
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ Alpha Iota ΑΙ
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ Rho Beta ΡΒ

Other national fraternities and sororities with registered chapters currently on campus include:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Delta Sigma Pi ΔΣΠ Kappa Chi ΚΧ
Iota Phi Lambda ΙΦΛ
Phi Beta Lambda ΦΒΛ
Phi Alpha Delta ΦΑΔ
Kappa Kappa Psi KKΨ Lambda Upsilon ΛΥ
Delta Phi Omega ΔΦΩ

At one time Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity had a registered chapter at Savannah State.

Student media

Tiger's Roar

The Tiger's Roar is the official student-produced newspaper of Savannah State University and provides both a print and on-line version.[44]

WHCJ (College Radio Station)

Main article: WHCJ

SSU operates WHCJ (FM) radio, which broadcasts 24 hours a day from the campus, covers all of Chatham County, and can also be heard in Effingham, Bryan, Beaufort, and Liberty counties.[45]

Established in 1975 and known as "the Voice of Savannah State University", WHCJ's current play formats include gospel, jazz, reggae, blues and salsa music, as well as talk shows, commentaries, and cultural enrichment programming.[46]


SSU Athletics
Cross County
Track & Field
Cross County
Track & Field
Main article: Savannah State Tigers

The Savannah State Tigers represent the university in college intercollegate athletics and are administered by the Savannah State University Athletic Department. The department dedicates about $2 million per year for its sports teams and facilities.[47]

Savannah State University holds membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and participates in the following sports: football, baseball, basketball (men and women), cross-country (men and women), tennis (men and women), track and field (men and women), volleyball (women only), golf (men), and softball (women).[48]

The school gained notoriety when they finished the 2004–2005 men's basketball season a winless 0–28, the first Division I team to do so since Prairie View A&M University in 1991–1992.[49][50] The team’s final game (a 49–44 loss to Florida A&M) was covered by several national sports organizations including ESPN.

See also

Suggested readings


A.^ On April 19, 2011 the Georgia Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia voted not to renew Dr. Earl Yarbrough’s annual contract as president of the university.[51] Cheryl Davenport Dozier was named as acting president of the university on April 21, 2011 and the Georgia Board of Regents plans to conduct a national search for Yarbrough's replacement.[52] Dr. Dozier became the permanent president on May 9, 2012.[5]


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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Savannah State University". Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b "List of HBCUs -- White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities". 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  4. ^ a b "'s Best Colleges 2014:Savannah State University:At a glance". U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 2015-03-25. 
  5. ^ a b "Dozier named president of Savannah State University". University System of Georgia. 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Savannah General Information". Savannah State University Office of Institutional Research & Planning. 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
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  11. ^ Template:Citweb
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  15. ^ a b "SSU - Where Savannah Meets the Sea...". Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
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  17. ^ a b c d e f g h "New Georgia Encyclopedia: Savannah State University". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
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  19. ^ "TV Listing:Trading Spaces". 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Evangelical group sues college over foot-washing". Biloxi Sun Herald. 2007-09-06. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  21. ^ a b "Court Rules in Favor of Christian 'Foot Washing' Group". 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
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  25. ^ "SSU receives $65,000 grant for HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse prevention education program". 2006-01-16. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
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  27. ^ "SSU’s mass communications program accredited by ACEJMC" (PDF). Savannah State University. 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-27. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Savannah State University Location". Savannah State University. 2003. Retrieved 2007-04-04. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Historic Thunderbolt, Georgia". Armstrong Atlantic State University Department of History. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  30. ^ "Georgia Historical Markers". University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-04-10. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  31. ^ a b "SSU's Hill Hall to reopen". Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  32. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
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  34. ^ "DIAAFOOTBALL.COM Savannah State". 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
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  41. ^ "THE ACADEMIC CONNECTION: Black Heritage Festival" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-16. [dead link]
  42. ^ "SSU Greek Organizations". Savannah State University. 1998. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  43. ^ Hall, Willie (2007-02-02). "SSU welcomes Iota Phi Theta to the yard". Tiger's Roar. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  44. ^ "General Information". The Tiger's Roar. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  45. ^ "Savannah State University WHCJ 90.3 FM". Savannah State University. 2000. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
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  48. ^ "Savannah State University Athletics". Savannah State University. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-04. [dead link]
  49. ^ "Tigers finish season 0-28". 2005-05-28. Retrieved 2005-02-15. 
  50. ^ "Winless Savannah State Gets New Coach". Retrieved 2007-06-05. 
  51. ^ Jones, Walter (2011-04-20). "Earl Yarbrough loses Savannah State University presidency". The Savannah Morning News and Evening Press. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  52. ^ "UGA administrator named acting Savannah State president". Pacific and Southern Company, Inc. 2011-04-21. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 

External links