Tifton Gazette

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March 27, 2014

UGA president to visit Tifton campus

TIFTON — University of Georgia President Jere Morehead will make his first visit to the UGA Tifton Campus on April 2.

During Morehead’s stop at one of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ three campuses, the president will take a brief tour of the campus and its facilities and meet with faculty, staff and students at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

“To have the president of UGA, one of the leading public institutions in the country, come to Tifton to speak to Rotary and to speak to his campus here, it speaks volumes. He needs to learn more about us and he’s willing to do so. After all, he’s 200 miles away,” said Joe West, assistant dean of the UGA Tifton Campus. “It sends a good message that he’s coming here and acknowledges UGA Tifton as a very important part of the University of Georgia. He is really recognizing how important agriculture is to the economic development of this state.”

According to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, agricultural commodities in Georgia generated $13.9 billion in farm gate value in 2012. Tift County generated $161.4 million in value, and much of this success can be attributed to the research being conducted in its backyard, West said.

“President Morehead is very enthusiastic about economic development and what the University of Georgia can do. Obviously, with the No. 1 industry in the state being agriculture, we’re a big player in economic development,” West said. “I think that his goals and objectives for his presidency are going to ensure that he maintains a connection with south Georgia and Georgia agriculture.”

In addition to seeing how successful the campus is, West hopes the UGA president will see how the campus could improve.

“We need help financially from the legislature,” West said. “We’re going to show him our good things and then show him some of our things that need to be improved.”

The improvements West refers to include the campus’ maintenance needs, which have suffered in recent years. Aging buildings, such as the Tift Building and Animal and Dairy Sciences Building, have been vacant for several years and are in need of repair. The Tift Building will undergo renovations beginning in May using $4.7 million from last year’s state budget.. West hopes the ADS Building can be refurbished in the future but funding is needed to do so.

“Having President Morehead’s support is crucial and having him come to this community acknowledges how important rural Georgia is to the economy in this state,” West said. “I think it sends a very good signal to the Tifton community that the president of the University of Georgia is coming to speak to Rotary, which is a group of movers and shakers, and acknowledges the connection between the greater University of Georgia and the University of Georgia Tifton campus.”

Morehead is scheduled to arrive on the Tifton campus Wednesday morning. He will later speak at the noon Tifton Rotary meeting.

 

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