USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue Names Cynthia Alexander as Interim President at Savannah State University

SAVANNAH, Ga. – In late April, Savannah State University President Kimberly Ballard-Washington announced to the campus community that she will step down from the post due to “personal reasons.” The University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Sonny Perdue named Cynthia Robinson Alexander as interim president of the University, effective July 1, 2023.

USG Chancellor Sonny Purdue named Cynthia Robinson Alexander as interim president of Savannah State University, effective July 1, 2023. She will serve upon the departure of current President Kimberly Ballard-Washington, who has announce she will step down from the post.

Alexander, who holds a doctorate in law, currently serves as USG’s associate vice chancellor for finance. She leads the Board of Regents’ management of all alternative financing transactions including the system’s $2.7 billion public-private venture portfolio.

“Ms. Alexander brings a passion for higher education and student success, a sharp business acumen and a wealth of experience from both outside and within the university system to one of our most historic institutions,” said USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue. “Savannah State University as the oldest public historically Black college and university in Georgia plays a critical role in helping more students graduate college and prosper in the workforce. We’re grateful to President Ballard-Washington for her dedicated service and welcome Cynthia into her new role at an institution we strongly support.”

Alexander has over 30 years of leadership experience in business and higher education, having successfully worked on highly complex financial and business transactions and led cross-disciplinary teams in implementing creative solutions to address challenges.

Since joining USG in 2009, she has worked closely with institutional presidents, chief business officers, foundations, university system leadership as well as external stakeholders including other state agencies, rating agencies, banks and financial institutions to provide needed support for facilities while prioritizing affordability for students.

Alexander has long been active in the greater Atlanta community. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and was aboard member for the Atlanta chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her work has garnered accolades that including being named as one of the “Outstanding Young People of Atlanta” (1991) and “10 Women to Watch” (1992). She is a 2016 graduate of USG’s Executive Leadership Institute.

“Savannah State has a long and distinguished history of academic achievements and student success, and faculty, staff and alumni have put a lot of time and effect into making sure that proud tradition is secured well into the future,” said Alexander. “I appreciate Chancellor Perdue’s trust in me, and I am honored to help lead the university to even greater success. I look forward to joining the Savannah State University team and building on the work of President Ballard-Washington to recruit and retain future graduates of the oldest institution of higher learning in the city.”

Alexander holds bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Brown University; a master’s in city and regional planning with a concentration in real estate development and finance from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; and a Juris Doctor of Law from Boston University.

Read President Ballard-Washington’s memo to the campus community:

Dear Savannah State University family:

Over the last four (4) years, I have had an opportunity to work with some amazing faculty and staff, who are dedicated to the mission of Savannah State University. That mission evolves around educating our students to become global citizens. My life has been forever enriched by the students who have graced our beautiful university by the sea. It has been my goal to ensure we are preparing well-rounded citizens to send into the world, while also creating a good work-life balance for our employees. Recently, I have found it more challenging to reach the goals due to personal issues I have been experiencing. Therefore, earlier this week, I presented my resignation to Chancellor Perdue. I will be departing from SSU at the end of the fiscal year.

My life’s work has been centered around higher education in the state of Georgia. It has always been my position that by acting in the best interest of the University, I also protected the rights of my students, faculty and staff. My goal since I began my legal career in higher education was to make a difference…to be a voice for the voiceless. I am pleased with the work I have performed. Today, however, I find the opportunities to make a positive impact occurs less frequently.

I am grateful to the thousands of SSU alumni who support our university through their gifts and talents. Our students need you to continue to provide the evidence that “you can get anywhere from here.” I am also grateful to the Savannah-Chatham community who graciously accepted Craig, the girls and me as members of this wonderful community. We look forward to continuing our mission through volunteerism.

Although I am leaving the presidency, I will not be leaving the work. I will seek every opportunity to support our students. I will continue to advocate for the needs of our University. I am optimistic for the future of SSU. I know the work we have done with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Ed Advancement, the National Institute for Student Success, as well as the contributions made by our many donors, will result in increased enrollment in the coming academic years. The future of SSU is bright and I am blessed to have served this prestigious institution!

Forever a Tiger,

Kimberly Ballard-Washington


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