Board of Regents Chairman Sachin Shailendra and University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Steve Wrigley have announced Interim President Kimberly Ballard-Washington as the sole finalist for president of Savannah State University.
Ballard-Washington has served as Savannah State’s interim president since President Cheryl Dozier retired in June 2019. Prior to her appointment as interim president, she practiced law for 20 years advising the public universities and colleges within USG.
“Savannah State’s 130-year history could not be better served than with a candidate of Ms. Ballard-Washington’s leadership and determination to honor its legacy while helping students successfully complete their degrees in the 21st century,” Wrigley said. “Kimberly has invaluable experience gained from working at a number of public universities across the state, and understands the important role Savannah State plays as the oldest public HBCU in Georgia. She truly and deeply cares for SSU, its students and its mission.”
Ballard-Washington’s past experience includes as an associate vice chancellor for legal affairs at USG, an associate director for legal affairs at the University of Georgia and serving as assistant to the president for legal affairs and director of Equal Opportunity Programs at Valdosta State University. She also served as interim president at Fort Valley State University, before being tapped to lead Albany State University on an interim basis. She was previously named to Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40” list.
“Finding excellent candidates to become president of any institution is an awesome responsibility, and Savannah State’s campus-based Presidential Search and Screen Committee worked tirelessly on behalf of the university’s stakeholders and the Board of Regents,” said Regent Don Waters, chair of the Regents Special Committee which also helped with the search. “While a number of outstanding candidates were considered, ultimately there is no match for Ms. Ballard-Washington’s passion for SSU, as well as her knowledge and understanding of the campus, its needs and the considerable opportunities it offers both Georgia and its students.”
A native of Montezuma, Ga., Ballard-Washington earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Georgia. She earned her juris doctorate from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
“I have long admired and now love Savannah State University,” Ballard-Washington said. “For almost two years, I have had the privilege of leading one of the most historic and influential institutions in our state on a temporary basis. I am honored to now have the opportunity to continue to lead the University into the next phase of its future.
The students, faculty, staff, alumni as well as the Savannah community have rallied around our success, which has created an incredible momentum toward helping propel Savannah State into its future. I look forward to continuing to build relationships within the Savannah State community as we are united for our students’ success. I am grateful for the confidence that the Presidential Search and Screen Committee, the Board of Regents and the Chancellor have placed in me.”
The Board of Regents will take action on the finalist for the next president of Savannah State University at a future board meeting, no sooner than five days from naming a finalist.