SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – She’s a 1979 graduate of Johnson High School in Savannah. She’s also considered to be a “key player” in the investment banking industry. Now Suzanne Shank is a Women of Vision Honoree.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is celebrating the history of Georgia and the contributions made to the state by women by naming two more women as honorees.
“It is the most exciting thing to receive an award from your hometown,” said Shank. “My parents still live here and I try to visit as often as I can so this is still home to me no matter when I may be living. So I’m just really excited to be recognized in this way.”
“It’s extremely humbling to be honored among the past winners as well as to be in the company of the other honoree today,” said Shank.
SCAD also named Clermont Huger Lee, a Savannah resident who died in 2006. Lee was considered one of the foremost experts in recreating historic landscapes.
SCAD President Paula Wallace credited Lee with essentially saving Savannah’s Squares saying in the 1950’s that the city had a plan to pave through part of many squares because larger buses (and perhaps emergency vehicles) could no longer navigate the squares. Wallace says Lee conceived the idea of “rounding the squares” and that resulted in what we still have today.
Lee’s niece Alice Fraser accepted a plaque on her late Aunt’s behalf.
Large gold portraits of both Lee and Shank are being permanently installed at SCAD’s Arnold Hall along with the prior 15 honorees that include former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson, former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears, Flannery O’Connor and Mother Mathilda Beasley.
“Women really drive this nation and we haven’t always gotten credit for doing so,” said Shank whose parents and husband were in attendance at the ceremony. “I just really love that Paula Wallace has memorialized contributions in this manner and is honoring women who have been just wonderful pioneers.”
Shank is the CEO and founding owner of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. She told us that she “hopes seeing the gold portraits and understanding the immense contributions of women in Savannah past and present can give young women today hope.”
Wallace told a group of attendees at an afternoon tea that she wants to honor “every woman upon whose shoulders this city was built.”
“We want to intentionally shine a light on the builders, movers and shakers and the women who have made a difference in people’s lives,” said Wallace.”