Mayor to Keynote SSU’s 173rd Commencement


Dr. Otis Johnson
Dr. Otis Johnson

Savannah State University (SSU) will hold its 173rd commencement ceremony on Saturday, December 13, at 10 a.m., in Tiger Arena. Approximately 160 students will receive undergraduate and graduate degrees. Otis S. Johnson, mayor of the city of Savannah, will deliver the commencement address.

As the 64th mayor of the city of Savannah, Johnson is currently serving his second term as the second African-American mayor in Savannah’s history. Nationally known in the field of community building and youth development, he has served in active leadership roles for numerous social-service organizations, such as the Chatham-Savannah Youth Futures Authority; the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education, and Families; and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. He also has served as an elected official on the Savannah City Council, and as a board member for the Savannah Chatham- County Board of Public Education and the Georgia Municipal Association.

Previously, Johnson was on the faculty of Savannah State for 26 years, retiring as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in 2002. During his tenure, he established an undergraduate program in social work, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 1984.

A graduate of Armstrong-Atlantic State University and the University of Georgia, Johnson later earned his master’s degree in social work from Clark Atlanta University and his doctorate in social welfare from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

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