Savannah State University Celebrates Founders Day

William T. Simmons, Ph.D., (c/o ‘98)
William T. Simmons, Ph.D., (c/o ‘98)

Savannah State University (SSU) will host a live virtual celebration of Founders Day on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. The annual observance recognizes those who established the University in 1890, celebrates the history of the institution and those who have contributed to its success. The ceremony includes a guest speaker and the presentation of awards to members of the community. The live stream may be viewed by visiting: https:// video. channel/ savannah-state-university events.

“Savannah State has a storied history and inspirational past, and it is important that we celebrate our history as we continue to inspire by educating today’s students to reach their full potential,” SSU Interim President Kimberly Ballard Washington said. “It is especially important to celebrate the University’s 130th year.”

This year’s speaker is SSU alumnus William T. Simmons, Ph.D., (c/o ‘98), district court administrator for the Sixth Judicial Administrative District of Georgia—the first African American to hold this position and the first African American to be president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators. Dr. Simmons continues his commitment and dedication to SSU today by serving as chapter president of the East Atlanta Suburban Chapter of the SSU National Alumni Association, board member for the SSU Foundation, chairman of the SSU Foundation’s Athletics Committee, and chairman of Legislative Affairs for the SSU National Alumni Association.

During the ceremony, two awards will be presented: The Richard R. Wright Excellence Award and the Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award. The Wright Excellence Award, named for the first president of SSU, honors outstanding leaders who have distinguished themselves through their expertise in social, educational and civic arenas. The Wiley Award, named for the University’s second president, recognizes outstanding alumni who have shown extraordinary support and loyalty.

The Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youths was founded on November 26, 1890, in Athens, Ga. Richard R. Wright Sr., along with a number of local leaders, convinced officials to move the college to Savannah in 1891. Wright was named as its first president, a position he would hold until 1921.

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