Tifton Gazette

Local News

February 19, 2013

ABAC celebrates 105th birthday today

TIFTON — On Feb. 20, 1908, a total of 27 students walked up the front steps of Tift Hall to attend classes at the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School. That school eventually became Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). Today, ABAC turns 105 years old.

“It’s a great day to look back, remember our roots and appreciate the excellent foundation established by the Agricultural and Mechanical School students, faculty and administration,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “ABAC today is a lot different than it was in 1908, but we still maintain those core values and the promise of a quality education for every student who walks in a classroom building on our campus.”

Tift, Lewis and Herring Halls were showplaces when they opened in 1908. Today, all three buildings are completing a rehabilitation process so they will again become the heartbeat of the ABAC campus. The Historic Front of Campus Rededication Ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m. March 1 so the public can view the revitalized buildings.

During the fall term, ABAC enrolled 3,225 students from 151 Georgia counties, 22 states and 25 countries. Over 1,200 of the students live on campus in modern housing complexes at ABAC Place and ABAC Lakeside.

The Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village is now a part of the ABAC campus as well as the Forest Lakes Golf Club. ABAC also enrolls almost 200 students for classes at ABAC on the Square in downtown Moultrie. A recent study showed the impact of ABAC on the south Georgia economy to be over $280 million on an annual basis.

ABAC offers bachelor’s degrees in diversified agriculture, turfgrass and golf course management, biology, forestry and wildlife management as well as social and community development, politics and modern culture, writing and communication, and business and economic development under the broad umbrella of Rural Studies.

The birth of the Second District A&M School actually took place on Aug. 18, 1906 when the Georgia General Assembly enacted Public Law 448. This bill established a state-run Agricultural and Mechanical School in each of Georgia’s 12 congressional districts.

The schools were designed by a single architect so the main campus buildings statewide were almost identical. They were actually college preparatory boarding schools and included students from 14-21 years old.

The course work contained agriculture classes for boys and home economics classes for girls. At the Second District A&M School, only boys were allowed to board during the first term. Students lived in Herring Hall and Lewis Hall and attended classes in Tift Hall.

The City of Tifton actually had to bid against Albany, Camilla, Pelham and Ashburn for the right to host the school. Thanks to Captain H.H. Tift, the founder of Tifton, and other community leaders, Tifton won the bid on the eighth balloting at a meeting in Albany on Nov. 23, 1906. The final vote came down to Tifton and Pelham.

Opening day of the Second District A&M School was declared a holiday in Tifton. Stores and the public school were closed. A special train ran to the campus from downtown Tifton and some 1,200 people attended the opening day ceremony.

Professor W.W. Driskell was the first principal of the Second District A&M School. The first class to graduate on June 14, 1910 included Joel Davis and Maude Paulk from Tift County and Charles Hinson from Grady County.

In 1924, a bill passed the Georgia legislature to change the high school to a college called the South Georgia A&M College. S.L. Lewis, who had been the principal at the high school on two different occasions, was selected as the first president of the college.

In 1929, the name of the college was changed again to the Georgia State College for Men. Dr. Frank G. Branch was the first and only president. GSCM had a broad range of athletics, including a football team. The Rams’ biggest win was a 13-12 victory over the University of Miami on Oct. 16, 1931.

In 1933, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia was formed and changed the name of the college again, this time to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. It became a two-year college named after a Georgia signer of the U.S. Constitution and the first president of the University of Georgia. Dr. J.G. Woodroof was the first president of ABAC.

ABAC returned to four-year college status on May 16, 2006 when the Board of Regents named it a State College of the University System.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • MAIN ART_FIELD DAY.tif Great day for a field day

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • logo-special-olympics-1.jpg Special Olympics postponed

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • voter scam.tif Don’t return that voter card – it’s a scam

    With the deadline to register looming, scammers are seeking to take advantage of voters looking to beat the April 21 cutoff.
    A local woman called The Gazette office Thursday afternoon to report she received a card in the mail that appeared to be from the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The card informed her that her voter registration had expired and she needed to fill out the requested information and return the card, or she would be ineligible to vote in the upcoming election. The card asked for her Social Security number, driver's license number and other personal information.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LINQ.tif TRMC announces first use of miniature cardiac monitor 

    Tift Regional Medical Center announced Thursday that it is one of the first hospitals in Georgia to implant the Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System in a patient, the smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device available.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • chris beckham.jpg Beckham named to Bar advisory council

    Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce Communications Director Chris Beckham has been appointed to serve on the Citizens Advisory Council of the State Bar of Georgia. Nominated by Tifton Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court Judge Render Heard, Beckham is one of 17 Georgia community leaders from outside the legal profession who were appointed to the council for 2014.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • summer camp.tif Museum to offer summer camps for kids

    Children from four to 11 years old can explore southern Georgia’s rich history and natural resources through hands-on activities, games, and crafts this summer at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Special Olympics Friday

    The community is invited to join in the "Olympic spirit" Friday morning to cheer on this year's local athletes of the Tift County Special Olympics. This annual event is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eighth Street Middle School track. However, in case of inclement weather, the rain date is May 2.

    April 16, 2014

  • Benefit cookout to be held in Omega

    South Georgia Banking Company's Omega branch is hosting a cookout fundraiser during lunch Friday to benefit Tift County's Relay for Life.
    Jane Justice, assistant vice president, said lunch will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the bank, located at 5515 Alabama Ave. in Omega. The price will be $5 for a hamburger and chips or two hot dogs and chips, $1 for a canned drink and $1 for homemade goodies for dessert.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hulsey.tif Accident claims life, driver arrested

    A motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian early Friday morning resulted in a local man's death.
    According to a motor vehicle accident report filed at the Tifton Police Department, shortly after 8 a.m., a female witness said she was eastbound in the right lane on U.S. Highway 82 behind a white 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, which was being driven by 26-year-old Riley Jake Hulsey of Alapaha, when they stopped for a red light at U.S. Highway 41 (South Main Street).

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • TTG_1830.tif Having some ‘egg-celent’ fun

    April 16, 2014 4 Photos

AP Video
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Business Marquee
Weather Radar
Video
SW Ga. Sacred Harp group at Folklife Festival in Tifton
Balloons released in Fitzgerald honoring fallen balloonist
Riding the Steam Train at Ga. Museum of Agriculture
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results