Dr. Carlton E. Brown, who has overseen the growth of Savannah State University’s endowment, enrollment and academic offerings over the last nine years, announced this week he is stepping down as president to run a special initiative of the University System of Georgia.
Brown’s resignation from the public historically Black university is effective Dec. 31, 2006; the next day he will join the staff of USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr.
“Serving as president of Savannah State University has been an enormous pleasure,” Brown wrote in an e-mail announcement to faculty and staff. “My love for this institution, its people and its history will continue to grow, as will my pride and gratitude for having been part of an incredible team that has accomplished so much in a short period, often against seemingly insurmountable odds.
“I am confident that the university’s foundation is solid enough to sustain this transition while continuing the growth trajectory and character of the institution.”
Beheruz N. Sethna, USG interim executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer, called Brown a visionary leader who was “the driving force behind a number of student-centered initiatives.”
During Brown’s tenure, Savannah State’s endowment grew to $2.6 million, up from $800,000. Student enrollment increased 48 percent, or by 1,000 students, from fall 1998 to fall 2005. As of this fall, about 3,230 students are enrolled.
Among the undergraduate degree majors the university has added is Africana studies, behavior analysis, and homeland security and emergency management. The institution more than doubled its graduate degree program with the addition of urban studies, marine sciences and business administration.
Brown is also credited with transforming student housing, including brokering a privately owned and operated student apartment building and constructing the Freshmen Living and Learning Center. Other brick-and-mortar projects include the addition of Tiger Arena, the $9.6 million sports and entertainment complex, and the soon-to-be-built $14 million academic building that will house the social and behavioral sciences programs.
Brown is immediate past chairman of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, and serves on the boards of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Macon, Ga., native earned his bachelor’s and doctorate of education degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Brown served on the faculty of Old Dominion University before joining Hampton University as dean of the School of Education. He joined Savannah State as its 11th president in 1997.
— Toni Coleman
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