ABAC’s Tracy Brundage Celebrated at Inauguration

Monday, September 25th, 2023

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College faculty, staff, students, University System of Georgia institution representatives, and community officials celebrated Dr. Tracy L. Brundage’s investiture as ABAC’s 11th president Friday.

The event included supportive remarks from a number of individuals about Brundage’s contributions to higher education throughout her 31-year career.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Sonny Perdue presented President Brundage with the ABAC medallion, a recreation of the college seal which represents the scholarship and authority of the office, as well as the ABAC mace, which represents the authority vested in the president of an institution of higher learning by its governing board.

It was carved by alumnus Keith Rucker out of wood from a Bradford pear tree that once lived on campus, and the presidential medallion was created specially for the investiture of President Brundage.

“It’s hard to believe, but an entire year has passed since I arrived in August of 2022 during the dog days of summer.” said Brundage. “For the past year, I have been the Captain of the Good Ship ABAC and my goal is to always sail in the right direction, rowing together toward a bright horizon. I know there will be storms at sea, but I also know there will be times of sunshine and calm waters and we should celebrate those times.

“We are very excited to continue the work we have already started but there is still much to do and we will do it together as we help prepare our students for citizenship, and relevant, family sustaining careers,” she added. “We already know that our graduates are continuous lifelong learners who are actively engaged, contribute to their communities, and thrive in the world.”

Before Brundage gave her speech, several local dignitaries welcomed attendees to the event and offered congratulations to Brundage.

Governor Brian Kemp sent remarks via video, and Tifton Mayor Julie Smith, former ABAC Faculty Senate President Diantha Ellis, ABAC Staff Council President Tia Kohler; Student Government Association President Brooke Patry, ABAC Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Jaclyn Ford, and ABAC Alumni Association Vice President Chad Hancock all welcomed the attendees and offered congratulations.

Dr. David L. Passmore, Distinguished Professor Emeritus from Penn State College of Education, and Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, President Emeritus from Pennsylvania College of Technology also sent in video remarks; former ABAC President David Bridges, and Georgia Board of Regents Chair Harold Reynolds also offered remarks. Fran Langan, Vice President at Keystone College in Pennsylvania, delivered remarks from Keystone President John Pullo, who was unable to attend.

“Ladies and gentlemen, what ABAC got in Tracy Brundage was a fighter,” Pullo’s remarks read. “In this current climate in higher education, you couldn’t have picked a better leader at this important time. ABAC has a proud 115-year tradition of providing a unique, intimate learning environment where students are given the tools to embrace their full potential and pursue their aspirations through a hands-on education. Tracy Brundage fits that tradition to a tee, both through her personal vision as well as her style.”

President Brundage spoke about that vision at her investiture.

“My overarching vision is for ABAC to remain relevant,” she said. “Be revolutionary in our ideas for the future, meet workforce needs, understand what makes ABAC unique and distinct- what are our competitive advantages in the marketplace and if we can create that carefully orchestrated balance and have a culture that has high employee morale and a quest for continuous improvement, we will continue to provide transformational experiences for our students and remain sustainable for years to come. Our mission, our institutional values- are so critical and will help guide our work ahead- and frame how we interact internally and externally.”