Savannah State Gala Raises Scholarship Funds

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Savannah State University's President’s Gala will be held Saturday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Savannah. Net proceeds from the university’s premier fundraising event will support student scholarships. During the black-tie affair, the university will present Awards of Excellence in service, leadership, scholarship and philanthropy. Tickets and further information are available

For generously supporting the university's academic scholarships and athletics programs, Henry Nash ’74 will receive the philanthropy award. Nash is chairman and CEO of General Scientific Corporation, an engineering service and manufacturing firm based in Arlington, Va., a company he founded in 1987. Today, GSC works with the U.S. military to test and design high-tech operational equipment and systems.

For his work as a devoted educator, Otis Johnson, Ph.D., will accept the scholarship award. Johnson began a lifelong career at SSU when he enrolled as a freshman in 1962. He transferred to Armstrong State University in 1963 and became the first African American to attend and graduate from that institution. Today, Johnson is SSU’s scholar-in-residence. He presents a series of lectures each year and recently completed a memoir about growing up in Savannah.

For his stellar military career in the U.S. Navy and continued guidance through mentoring, Captain Donnie Cochran (ret.) ’76 will be given the leadership award. 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 flew with and later assumed command of the famed Blue Angels squadron, the first African-American to do so. Today Cochran provides leadership training through his company.

For outstanding performance the community, the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation will receive the service award. King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation, Inc., operates the Beach Institute and the original museum site, King-Tisdell Cottage. The Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center is Savannah’s flagship museum and gallery for traveling exhibitions, permanent collection exhibits, performances and lecture series highlighting African-American art, culture and history, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

The gala co-chairs are Edna B. Jackson, former mayor of Savannah, and Eric Johnson, former Georgia state senator.

The title sponsor is the SSU Foundation, Inc., and the presenting sponsor for this year’s gala is Thompson Hospitality, SSU’s foodservice provider.