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ABAC Foundation President Emeritus Melvin Merrill speaks at the dedication ceremony for the Veterans Center named in his honor.

TIFTON — In a fitting salute on Veterans Day, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College dedicated the Melvin L. Merrill ABAC Veterans Center to a longstanding administrator who has made his mark at ABAC in a remarkable 42-year career.

“Melvin Merrill has distinguished himself with his service to his country and to this college,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “He is a man who believes in doing things the right way.”

Merrill served 29 years in the United States Army Reserve before he retired with the rank of major in 1993, college officials said in a statement. He also occupied an administrative position at ABAC for 42 years, first as director of development before moving on to other roles as chief development officer, president of the ABAC Foundation and director of capital planning.

Merrill was instrumental in the design and construction of the Veterans Center, which is now located in the renovated Carlton Center, college officials said.

Its original location was in J. Lamar Branch Hall. Students who are veterans use the area as a place to study and relax, while acquainting themselves with others who also served in the military.

“Veterans Day means something special to me every year,” Merrill said. “With this honor, this day takes on extra special significance. I am humbled by the idea and appreciative of the recognition. It’s one of the best honors I have ever had.”

Merrill retired from ABAC in 2015 but continued to work as ABAC’s director of capital planning until 2020 on a part-time basis. Upon his retirement, he received the title of ABAC Foundation president emeritus.

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