Civil Rights Movement leader and current Savannah Mayor Edna Branch Jackson will address Saint Leo University Savannah Education Center students at the university’s commencement ceremony Saturday, June 13. The event will take place at 10 a.m. at the Johnny Mercer Theatre in the Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, GA 31401.
More than 130 students will earn degrees from the Savannah Education Center. Most will receive Bachelor of Arts degrees, but 22 students will earn master’s degrees.
Raymond Retzer will give the Class of 2015 Farewell. He is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice.
Alumnus Ulysses Bryant ’12 will lead the graduates in the traditional turning of the tassels and welcome the new alumni.
Guest speaker Jackson is the 65th mayor of Savannah and the first African-American woman to hold this position. Prior to her election in 2011, she served three terms as alderman at large on Savannah City Council, including serving as mayor pro tem for two terms. Mayor Jackson has served on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities, and is former president of the National League of Cities Women in Municipal Government. She is the second vice president of the Georgia Municipal Jackson was fully engaged in the Civil Rights Movement, first joining the NAACP Youth Council in Savannah at age 9. A protégé of the late W.W. Law and Eugene Gadsden, she participated in sit-ins at downtown Savannah businesses, wade-ins at Tybee Beach, and kneel-ins at various local churches. She helped conduct voter registration drives and participated in demonstrations throughout the South, including the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery. During this period, she was employed with the NAACP National Youth Task Force and spent time in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia demonstrating and carrying out voter registration drives.
She is the past southern regional vice president and national vice president of the Savannah State University National Alumni Association. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Savannah State College (now University), where she worked as an administrator for 30 years. During her tenure, she served her alma mater in the areas of counseling, admissions and recruiting, and financial aid, and was the director of Alumni Affairs and elderhostel coordinator. Mayor Jackson has one son, Kevan LaMar Jackson.
Saint Leo University’s Savannah Education Center is at 7426 Hodgson Memorial Drive Suite A, For info call (912) 352-8331.