Savannah State University (SSU) will celebrate Founders Day on Thursday, November 16, a commemoration of those who established the school and a celebration of the members of the SSU family. SSU will honor three individuals during the ceremony in the Student Union ballroom at 10 a.m. This year’s speaker will be Carolyn V. Jordan, D. Min., descendant of Major Richard R. Wright, Sr., the first president of SSU.
Captain Donnie Cochran (ret.), ‘76 and Margaret C. Robinson, Ph.D. ‘52, will each accept the Richard R. Wright Excellence Award, named for the first president of SSU. This award honors corporate or individual citizens, alumni and outstanding leaders, who have distinguished themselves through their expertise in social, educational and civic arenas.
After graduating from the NROTC program with a degree in civil engineering technology, Cochran completed flight school and served multiple deployments as a pilot. He assumed command of the famed Blue Angels squadron, the first African-American pilot to do so. Cochran is now a motivational speaker and author of an autobiography with lessons learned from his times as a commander.
Robinson is dean emerita of the College of Sciences and Technology (COST). Robinson spearheaded the marine sciences program in the 1970s, bringing on new faculty and writing SSU’s first federally funded grant.
Today, SSU has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in marine sciences.
Wilburn Joe Eason will receive the Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award. A native of Dry Branch, Ga., Eason graduated from Savannah State in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon graduation, he was hired by Darden Restaurant, Inc., a Fortune 500 Company, the world’s largest full service restaurant company. During his time with Darden, he opened, relocated and remodeled more than 200 Red Lobster restaurants. Eason is a devoted member of the SSU National Alumni Association and a frequent donor to scholarship efforts.
More information is available at savannahstate.edu/founders-day. The event is free and open to the public.