Savannah State University (SSU) President Cheryl Davenport Dozier today announced she will retire as president on June 30.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead and serve as the 13th president of SSU – with the outstanding faculty and staff,” said Dozier. “The reward is the daily satisfaction of witnessing students succeed in the classroom and become the leaders in their chosen professions and communities. I am grateful to all of the stakeholders who daily support the success of SSU students.”

“President Dozier’s commitment to students and dedicated public service is evident by her long and distinguished career in higher education,” said Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “SSU plays a critical role in our state and the Savannah community, and will continue to do so long into the future. On behalf of the University System, I’m grateful for Cheryl’s leadership at this important and historic institution and happy for her as she embarks on her next chapter in life.”

Dozier holds a Doctorate in Social Welfare from Hunter College at the Graduate Center of City University of New York, a master’s degree in Social Work from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta) and a bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She became president of SSU in 2011 after a 17-year career at the University of Georgia (UGA). During her tenure at UGA, she served as associate provost and chief diversity officer for the Office of Institutional Diversity, professor in the School of Social Work and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at the Gwinnett Center. She also directed the Ghana Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program.

Accomplishments during her tenure include:

  • Acquiring $22.5 million in state funding to construct and open two new STEM academic buildings and $3.7 million for the renovation of historic Herty Hall.
  • Establishing the SSU Board of Visitors to increase corporate and community support.
  • Launching the Transformation and Growth campaign, which to date has raised approximately $8 million for faculty development and student success initiatives.
  • Strengthening international education and global opportunities for faculty and students.
  • Founding Closing the Gap, a scholarship fund that provides one-time assistance to graduating seniors who need $1,500 or less to graduate.
  • Establishing mini grants to promote professional development and community engagement among faculty members.
  • Enhancing academic offerings including:
    • Reactivating the mechanical engineering technology degree program and the teacher education program, which is now the College of Education, and expanded degree offerings to include the BSED degree in the areas of biology education, mathematics education, engineering and technology education, and middle grades education.
    • Launching the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree.
    • Creating the Online Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management and Global Logistics and International Business major, which is the first of its kind in the state of Georgia to focus on both global logistics and international business.
    • Establishing a master’s degree in mathematics.
    • Extending SSU degree offerings to Liberty County beginning with the homeland security and emergency management degree.
    • Expanding the campus to the Coastal Georgia Center, where graduate programs are now offered.

A national search for Dozier’s replacement will be launched at a later date.

Wrigley named Kimberly Ballard-Washington, currently associate vice chancellor of legal affairs at the University System of Georgia (USG), as interim president effective July 1. Ballard-Washington previously served as interim president at Fort Valley State University and Albany State University.

To help guide the institution’s transition, Wrigley tapped Dr. Stuart Rayfield, vice chancellor for leadership and institutional development at the USG. Rayfield previously served as interim president of Gordon State College and Bainbridge State College. Members of the transition team will be announced in the coming days.

Information from University system of Georgia

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