Graduates celebrate 200th commencement at Savannah State

May 7, 2022 GMT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The oldest historically Black college in Georgia’s public university system is celebrating a milestone.

Savannah State University held its 200th commencement ceremony on Friday, with approximately 360 graduates receiving their degrees at the campus football stadium.

Savannah State was founded in 1890 under the second Morrill Land Grant Act, a federal law mandating that Southern states establish land-grant colleges for Black students. It became the first college to open in Savannah.

The 132-year-old campus typically holds two graduation ceremonies each year, in the fall and spring.

The commencement speaker Friday was retired Navy Capt. Donnie Cochran, who was the first Black aviator to fly with the famed Blue Angels aerobatic squadron. Cochran graduated from Savannah State in 1976 with a degree in civil engineering technology.