University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Sonny Perdue recently named Cynthia Robinson Alexander as interim president of Savannah State University, effective July 1, 2023.
She will serve upon the departure of Savannah State President Kimberly Ballard-Washington, who has announced she will step down from the post.
Alexander, who holds a doctorate in law, currently serves as USG’s associate vice chancellor for finance. She leads the Board of Regents’ management of all alternative financing transactions including the system’s $2.7 billion public-private venture portfolio.
“Ms. Alexander brings a passion for higher education and student success, a sharp business acumen and a wealth of experience from both outside and within the university system to one of our most historic institutions,” USG Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “Savannah State University as the oldest public historically Black college and university in Georgia plays a critical role in helping more students graduate college and prosper in the workforce. We’re grateful to President Ballard-Washington for her dedicated service and welcome Cynthia into her new role at an institution we strongly support.”
Alexander has over 30 years of leadership experience in business and higher education, having successfully worked on highly complex financial and business transactions and led cross-disciplinary teams in implementing creative solutions to address challenges.
Since joining USG in 2009, she has worked closely with institutional presidents, chief business officers, foundations, university system leadership as well as external stakeholders including other state agencies, rating agencies, banks and financial institutions to provide needed support for facilities while prioritizing affordability for students.
Alexander has long been active in the greater Atlanta community. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and was a board member for the Atlanta chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Her work has garnered accolades that include being named as one of the “Outstanding Young People of Atlanta” (1991) and “10 Women to Watch” (1992). She is a 2016 graduate of USG’s Executive Leadership Institute.
“Savannah State has a long and distinguished history of academic achievements and student success, and faculty, staff and alumni have put a lot of time and effort into making sure that proud tradition is secured well into the future,” Alexander said. “I appreciate Chancellor Perdue’s trust in me, and I am honored to help lead the university to even greater success. I look forward to joining the Savannah State University team and building on the work of President Ballard-Washington to recruit and retain future graduates of the oldest institution of higher learning in the city.”
Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Brown University in Providence, R.I.; a master’s in city and regional planning with a concentration in real estate development and finance from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.; and a Juris Doctor of Law from Boston University in Boston, Mass. She and her husband, Chuck, have two adult sons.