President's Biography

Portrait photograph of Dr. Cheryl Davenport DozierDr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier
President of Savannah State University

Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier is the 13th president of Savannah State University. Since taking office in 2011, she has advanced the university's mission of developing productive members of a global society through high quality instruction, scholarship, research, service, and community involvement. Her vision is to move students from "matriculation to graduation." With her motto of One SSU, Dr. Dozier is firmly committed to advancing the legacy of excellence established when SSU was founded in 1890.

Under Dr. Dozier's leadership, enrollment at SSU has reached an all-time high, fundraising has increased and several new alumni chapters have been chartered. Dr. Dozier successfully launched the Closing the Gap Fund, a program that provides financial support to students in their final semester to ensure they complete college. She also has worked to expand the university's global engagement, foster community partnerships and improve customer service. Dr. Dozier's work as principal investigator for a $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health has helped promote minority health research and strengthen SSU's biomedical and behavioral science research infrastructure.

A renowned university-level administrator, professor, researcher and author, Dr. Dozier joined the SSU administration after a 17-year career at the University of Georgia. During her tenure at UGA, she served on the president's Cabinet as associate provost and chief diversity officer; was a professor in the School of Social Work; and served as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs at the Gwinnett University Center. As a member of the African Studies faculty, she directed the Ghana Interdisciplinary Study Abroad Program for more than a decade. She is a faculty researcher with the UGA Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and a faculty member of social work at SSU.

Dr. Dozier is actively involved in the Savannah community. She serves on the governing boards of United Way of the Coastal Empire, Telfair Museums, Step Up Savannah and Union Mission. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Savannah and serves on the Savannah Economic Development Authority Advisory Council and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Council. Dr. Dozier is an executive team member of Savannah Graduates, a new Lumina Foundation funded initiative to increase the college attendance and completion rates in the Savannah-Chatham County region over the next decade. At the state level, Dr. Dozier was one of 21 citizens appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the Georgia Child Welfare Reform Council, which was created to improve the state's child welfare system. Nationally, Dr. Dozier is on the executive steering committee for the Millennium Leadership Institute of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She serves on the American Council of Education's Commission on International and Global Engagement and is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Council of Presidents.

Dr. Dozier earned a bachelor's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a master's in social work from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University) and a doctorate in social work from Hunter College at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A native New Yorker with Georgia roots, she is married to Mr. Arthur Dozier II, a South Carolina native. She enjoys spending time with their adult children, grandchildren and extended family.