Award Recipients
Stetson Entrance

George and Mary Hood Award

The George and Mary Hood Award is given in honor of the late Dr. George Hood, former dean of students, professor and director of Student Counseling Services, and his wife, the late Mary Turner Hood, a longtime assistant to President and Chancellor J. Ollie Edmunds. It is presented annually to a member or friend of the Stetson University community in recognition of his/her passion for, and commitment and contributions to, Stetson University and its core values.

Select the dates below to view award recipients and their bios.

* - Now Deceased


Savannah Jane Griffin '07, MBA '08

Savannah-Jane Griffin became the Chief Executive Officer of the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia in February 2022, which is the leading organization that feeds the hungry, houses the homeless, and prevents homelessness in West Volusia.  Over the past eight months, she’s established strategic partnerships in the community to help tackle the current affordable housing crisis in Volusia County, she has secured $200,000 in new grant and donor funds that go directly toward preventing homelessness in Volusia County, and her team has assisted over 15,000 individuals this year alone seeking homeless prevention services.

Savannah-Jane also serves as a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and recently designed and facilitated the Inclusive DeLand training series in partnership with Volusia County, the City of DeLand, and the Mainstreet DeLand Association. She has taught a course on Global Citizenship for the past nine years in Stetson’s First Year Seminar Program. She has been an active member in the DeLand community serving on board of the Mainstreet DeLand Association, the Advent Health Foundation, and the Greater Union Life Center.

A Stetson double Hatter, Savannah-Jane, ‘07, ‘08 began her formal employment post-graduation at Stetson University in 2007. During her time at Stetson, she competently provided oversight of the institution’s efforts in community engagement, diversity and inclusion, and religious and spiritual life. As a result of her leadership, Savannah-Jane elevated Stetson to national recognition and achievement by securing the university’s 2015 designation by the Carnegie Foundation as a “university making extraordinary commitments to its public purpose”. In 2021, Stetson received the Gold Seal distinction from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for “demonstrating formidable commitment to empowering student voters to participate in our democracy” as a result of record student voter turnout during the 2020 presidential elections. 

A consummate professional, Savannah-Jane was instrumental in Stetson securing its $2 million endowment from the Bonner Foundation for the Bonner Scholars Program, establishing the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, and stewarding multiple grant awards to ensure our students’ civic engagement towards leading lives of purpose. She played an integral role in the launch of Stetson’s Peace Corps Prep Program and collaborated with diverse constituencies to advance our faculty corp’s professional development and achievement. Savannah-Jane also developed and led the Bias Education Support Team (BEST), a process designed to address and reduce bias incidents on campus. Moreover, she dedicated significant leadership and effort in administering our annual Values Day programming, from annually facilitating the call for proposals to bringing internationally-renowned speakers to campus such as Pulitzer Prize award recipient and author, Isabel Wilkerson. To that end, Savannah-Jane has consistently received national recognition for her work including being named a Bonner Foundation National Fellow and achieving the Florida Campus Compact Community Educator of the Year Award.

Savannah-Jane is a proud mom of her two children, Sara-Dean and Forrest, and loving wife to Army Veteran and Stetson double Hatter ’14, ‘18, Christopher Griffin.

Past Award Recipients

  • 2021 - Jimmie Johnson '68
  • 2020 - The Honorable Luis A. Maldonado '01
  • 2019 - Nancy W. Bayless '62
  • 2018 - Gerald D. Kruhm '57, MEd '72, SPCEN '81 and Betty Furches Kruhm '59, MEd '86
  • 2017 - Steve Roy '75
  • 2016 - Luis Prats '72, JD '81
  • 2015 - Robert K. Sitler
  • 2014 - J. Hyatt Brown, Hon. '92 and Cici Brown, Hon. '07
  • 2013 - Dr. David B. Rinker '62, Hon. '07 and Dr. Leighan Rinker
  • 2012 - William Clay Henderson '77
  • 2011 - Mark Clayton Hollis* '56, Hon. '89 and Lynn Darracott Hollis
  • 2010 - Max Cleland '64