ABAC Celebrates 111th Birthday

Staff Report From Tifton CEO

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

When 27 students walked up the front steps to attend the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School on Feb. 20, 1908, they had no idea they were setting in motion an institution that would create an annual economic impact of almost $530 million on South Georgia 111 years later.

The Second District A&M School was an area high school that opened on that day in 1908.  The school later became South Georgia A&M College in 1924, the Georgia State College for Men in 1929, and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 1933.  That two-year college called ABAC began offering bachelor’s degree classes in 2008, and the rest is history.  Now ABAC is celebrating its 111th birthday.

“ABAC needs South Georgia, and South Georgia needs ABAC,” Dr. Renata Elad, Dean of ABAC’s Stafford School of Business, said in her recent analysis of the statewide economic impact study which showed ABAC had a $529,838,507 impact on South Georgia in fiscal year 2017.  “With total employment of over 1,800 jobs directly from student spending activities and an overall labor impact of almost $66 million, ABAC is definitely a strong partner in regional growth.”

With instructional sites in Tifton, Moultrie, Bainbridge, Blakely, and Donalsonville during the 2018 fall term and a record enrollment of 4,291 students, ABAC now attracts students from 30 countries, 18 states, and 155 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

Instead of the 1908 high school curriculum, ABAC now offers 12 bachelor’s degree programs in Agribusiness, Agriculture, Agricultural Communication, Agricultural Education, Biology, Business, Environmental Horticulture, History and Government, Natural Resource Management, Nursing, Rural Community Development, and Writing and Communication.

ABAC also continues to offer associate degrees, highlighted by a two-year degree in nursing which prepares graduates for the Registered Nurse (R.N.) licensure exam.

Visitors looking to find out more about the history of ABAC can view colorful historic panels in Tift Hall, the main administrative building on the front of the campus.  These panels depict the 111-year history of the college in an easy to follow manner in the George T. Smith Parlor, the ABAC History Room, and the Freedom Gallery, all open to the public from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Fridays.