SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah State University (SSU) recently celebrated its 132nd Founders’ Day honoring two esteemed alumni with prestigious awards: The Richard R. Wright Award of Excellence and The Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Richard R. Wright award was presented to alumna Tatia Adams Fox, Class of 2003, and named for the first president of SSU. This award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon alumni, recognizing outstanding leaders who have distinguished themselves through their expertise in social, educational and civic arenas.

The Richard R. Wright award was presented to alumna Tatia Adams Fox. (Photo was provided by Rebekah Lingenfelser of SSU)

A Savannah native, Fox earned dual bachelor’s degrees in business administration and mass communications from SSU, recently joined American Express with over 25 years of experience in marketing, project management, client partnerships and entertainment.

She is a member of the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications, New York Women’s Foundation Circle of Sisters Social for Social Change, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity.

The Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Retired Marine Corps Veteran Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, Sr., Class of ‘74. This award was named for the university’s second president and recognizes outstanding alumni who have shown extraordinary support and loyalty.

Lt. Gen. Wiley, a graduate of Savannah State University’s NROTC scholarship program, served as the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and is the first Black American to command a marine division.

Carolyn Price (right), president of the SSUNAA Savannah Chapter accepts the Cyrus G. Wiley Distinguished Alumni Award on behalf of Lt. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin, Sr., who was not able to be in attendance. She is pictured with President of Savannah State University Kimberly Ballard-Washington (left). Photo credit: SSU Multimedia Specialist Sarah Peacock.

He was the 19th deputy chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee and was the acting chairman of the NATO Military Committee from November 2011 to January 2012, making him only the second American to ever hold the position.

Each year SSU takes a day to recognize those who have served the school and made its foundation stronger.

The annual observance celebrates the history of the institution and those who have contributed to its success. The ceremony includes a guest speaker and the presentation of awards to members of the community.