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Board of Regents Approves ABAC, Bainbridge Consolidation

January 12, 2017

In an effort to better serve students, broaden academic programs available for students in South Georgia and to reinvest savings into academics to improve student success, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved a recommendation from Chancellor Steve Wrigley to consolidate Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Bainbridge State College on Wednesday.

ABAC President David Bridges will be the president for the consolidated institution, which will carry the name of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“I believe this is a real vote of confidence in ABAC, and we will make it work for all our students, whether they are in Bainbridge or Tifton or points in between,” Bridges said.  “This expands our base, makes us a larger institution and will give us access to more resources.”

Interim Bainbridge State President Stuart Rayfield pledged her cooperation to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“Enhanced opportunities for students will be the ultimate goal of this consolidation,” Rayfield said.  “I look forward to working with everyone at ABAC to make this a very successful venture.”

When Wrigley made the recommendation to combine the two colleges on Jan. 6, he said, “We are committed to serving South Georgia in public higher education and our partnership with the Tifton and Bainbridge communities.  This consolidation is a long-term investment of the University System in South Georgia.”

Campus and community listening sessions will be held in the coming months to seek and hear input on ways to best design the new institution so that it can provide the best service for the region and the state.  An implementation team with representatives from both the Bainbridge campus and the Tifton campus will be charged with the responsibility of working out the many details associated with the consolidation.  A consolidation website will also be established to provide information and updates.

ABAC enrolled 3,475 students for the 2016 fall semester, and Bainbridge State enrolled 2,468 students.  Under the proposed timeline, the new institution will submit a proposal for consolidation to the board of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for approval in December.  Once approved, the consolidated institution will be presented to the Board of Regents for approval.
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