Campus Police Chief Thomas Trawick said the wounded student knew the gunman, who is also enrolled at the school. The victim was shot once in the arm and once in the abdomen and was undergoing surgery, Trawick said.
"It was not a random shooting," Trawick said at a news conference. "This was individuals who knew each other, and there was an altercation."
Trawick said the SWAT team had surrounded the building in University Commons to see whether the gunman was inside. Authorities evacuated the building after the shooting at 11:45 a.m. and officers had recovered the handgun used, he said.
Dr. Tara Cox, a university marine biologist, said students and faculty received an alert about the shooting through an automated messaging system.
"We just locked the doors and kept the students that were in the building in the building," she said.
Colleges across the country implemented text message and e-mail warning systems after a gunman killed 32 people before shooting himself last year at Virginia Tech. Savannah State's Web site allows students to sign up for emergency notices.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said both the suspect and the student are from the Atlanta area.
The campus of about 3,400 students along Georgia's coast was locked down immediately after the shooting. Cars could leave but not enter the campus at the state's oldest public historically black college, founded in 1890.
Junior Charvaris Dewberry, 20, said he was in his dorm room when a friend called about the shooting. He said he tuned in to television news coverage because he says the university was providing scant information.
"We don't know anything," said Dewberry, who could see squad cars and police patrolling campus.
Dewberry said he and most of his friends are not enrolled in the emergency alert program.