SSU’s Founders Day Awards Spotlight Remarkable Achievements

Shirley Barber James
Shirley Barber James

Savannah State University (SSU) will celebrate Founders Day on Thursday, November 8, a commemoration of those who established the school and a celebration of the members of the SSU family. SSU will honor two individuals during the ceremony in Tiger Arena, 9:30 a.m. This year’s speaker will be Amir Jamal Touré, J.D., instructor in the Africana studies program.

Shirley Barber James will 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.

James is a longstanding pillar of the Savannah community. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spelman College and a master’s degree in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In 1971, James joined SSU where she held positions as director of testing and interim vice president of student affairs, and developed a peer-counseling program. James is the coordinator of the Savannah Black Heritage Festival and the editor and publisher of The Savannah Tribune.

The Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding alumni who have shown extraordinary support and loyalty, and who have become examples of the lofty ideals espoused by the university. The award also extols the achievements and contributions such distinguished alumni have made nationally, regionally and locally. Charles G. Young ‘76 will receive the Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award. Young graduated from SSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Shortly thereafter he moved to the Washington, D.C., area, where he has worked as an economist with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Agency. Young also established the Grady Young Foundation, which has provided more than 150 students with college scholarships. Young has served as an active member of the SSU National Alumni Association, including as the national president. He is the immediate past chairman of the SSU Foundation, Inc

More information is available at The event is free and open to the publi

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