President Ballard-Washington

SSU 14th President Kimberly Ballard-Washington

SAVANNAH – The future of Savannah State University has become much brighter and full of opportunities for the students, faculty, and community. After serving as the university’s interim since July 1, 2019, Kimberly Ballard-Washington, J.D. was appointed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on May 13, 2021. The 14th President of Savannah State University, Kimberly Ballard-Washington, J.D., was publicly recognized on Friday, November 12, 2021 at 10 a.m. in the Tiger Arena. The event was open to the savannah community with no cost and live streamed. 

The annual event was held to a standard of excellence and maintained many academic traditions. Special guests from the University System of Georgia colleagues, community leaders, and stakeholders delivered celebratory speeches as an introduction to the ceremony. The event started with the presiding by Sametria R. McFall, Ph.D., the interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. 

“If students represent the heart of the university then our alumni represent the soul of the university” said Samertria R. McFall, Ph.D. 

In the introduction, there was a musical prelude by Jeremiah Clark, “Trumpet Voluntary'' and an official processional by J.S. Bach, Eric Jones, Adjunct Instructor, “Air on a G String”. The Savannah State University Army and Naval ROTC did a presentation of colors and the national anthem followed shortly after, sung by President Ballard-Washington’s daughter, Kerri Washington. The outstanding vocals from Kerri Washington added a blissful and sentimental moment to the investiture that everyone in the audience would never forget. 

While President Ballard-Washington had many greetings from the SSU Foundation, SSU National Alumni Association, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and more; there were a few special greetings that highlighted just how well-rounded Kimberly Ballard-Washington is. 

“I had often said and believed that experience comes with knowledge… and that is certainly the case with Kimberly Ballard Washingtion. And if you read her biography, you would quickly learn that President Ballard-Washington has proven herself to be a dedicated public servant and also a dedicated Georgian. Throughout her remarkable career, she has demonstrated excellence in every role and remained committed to approving education in this great state,” said Governor of the State of Georgia, Brian P. Kemp.  

Kemp also emphasized how Ballard-Washington is the only person to have led all three of Georgia public historically Black colleges, Fort Valley University, Albany State University, and currently Savannah State University. 

“...[President Kimberly Ballard-Washington] believed that this was the place for her. And then one day… she said ‘I think I want to stay.’ And it might have been the bo-bos, it might’ve been the mutals… but I think it was the spirit of the tiger,” said Mayor of Savannah, Van Johnson. 

Mayor Van Johnson declared November 12th through the 14th as “President Kimberly Ballard-Washington weekend” in the city of Savannah. This declaration emphasized how important Ballard-Washington is but not only to Savannah State but the city of Savannah. 

The investiture became emotional when Chatham County Chairman, Chester A. Ellis presented the key to Chatham county to President Ballard-Washington. Everyone stood from their chairs, clapping with admiration for President Ballard-Washington being an impactful Black figure.  

In closing, President Ballard-Washington gave her breath-taking address, the Savannah State University Hymn, and the benediction by Justin Philips, SSU Honors program student. 

“I further pledge to lead Savannah State University better than it ever has been. It is good. We can and will be better. I pledge to be a servant leader of my tiger family. I am unapologetically one of the team… On May 13th, I received a call that I’ve been selected to lead this illustrious university. And I stand before you this morning, proud to accept the charge and the challenge of serving as the 14th President of Savannah State University” said President Kimberly Ballard-Washington.

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