Savannah State University’s (SSU) President’s Scholarship Gala was held Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Net proceeds from the university’s premier fundraising event support student scholarships. With the theme of “An Intellectual Renaissance,” SSU celebrated the rich culture of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance while recognizing the scholars and community leaders of today. During the blacktie affair, the university presented Awards of Excellence in philanthropy, leadership, entrepreneurship, scholarship and service.
For generously supporting the university’s academic scholarships, there were two philanthropy awards. The Fred and Mattie Jackson Foundation was started by Cyrus Jackson ’77 looking for a way to honor his parents. Cyrus Jackson is one of 13 family members to graduate from SSU. Gus Bell has spent more than 50 years with the firm of Hussey Gay Bell. A civil engineer, Bell has devoted time and resources to community improvements.
Two leadership awards were presented to honored Don Waters and Cathy Hill. Waters heads up Waters Capital Partners, LLC, and serves as the area regent for the University System of Georgia. A native of Savannah, Waters currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Chatham County Hospital Authority. Cathy Hill, a retired executive with Georgia Power, was one of the company’s first female engineers. After nine years heading up the coastal region office, Hill became the VP of land development for the energy company.
Kevin “Catfish” Jackson accepted the entrepreneurship award. Jackson is president and CEO of EnviroVac – The Clean Company, an industrial cleaning company that serves the entire southeast. Jackson is also known as a defensive lineman on the 1981 UGA SEC championship team.
In honor of outstanding academic careers, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ph.D., and Charles J. Elmore, Ph.D., received the excellence in scholarship award. Stevenson taught at SSU for 38 years in the theater and English departments. Elmore, professor emeritus and historian, taught at Savannah State for 35 years, leading the journalism and mass communication program to accreditation and reaccreditation. For excellence in community, Union Mission received the service award. Since 1936, Union Mission has worked to prevent and end homelessness by providing a pathway to self-sufficiency. The gala co-chairs were Edna B. Jackson, former mayor of Savannah, and Eric Johnson, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Robert Jepson, CEO of Jepson Associates, was the honorary gala chair. The title sponsor was the SSU Foundation, Inc.