ABAC President David Bridges (left) and ABAC Alumni Association President Dan Hobby (right) presented the 2019 fall commencement awards to two Tifton students, Kaycee Aultman (middle right) and Kaycee Goodman (middle left).
Kaycee Aultman and Kaycee Goodman, both from Tifton, received the top awards presented by the ABAC Alumni Association at the fall commencement on Thursday when Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College had the most graduates participate in a fall ceremony in the 111-year history of ABAC.
ABAC President David Bridges said 221 students participated in the ceremony in Tifton and another 36 ABAC graduates received their diplomas at ABAC Bainbridge Thursday night.
“It’s another record-setting day for ABAC,” Bridges, who received his associate degree from ABAC in 1978, said. “Each of these graduates has participated in the life-changing experience we call ABAC, and I believe their lives after ABAC will reflect the quality education they have received.”
Aultman, who received a bachelor’s degree in writing and communication, was named the winner of the ABAC Alumni Association Award which goes to the top bachelor’s degree graduate participating in the ceremony, and Goodman, who received an associate degree in nursing, earned the George P. Donaldson Award for the top associate degree graduate participating in the ceremony.
Cain Thurmond, Senior Account Manager, Ag Products Business Unit, CSX Corporation, and a 2011 ABAC graduate, was the guest speaker.
“The stage is set,” Thurmond said. “Don’t take your degree from ABAC for granted. Keep growing. Keep striving for more. Keep accomplishing those goals.”
During her time at ABAC, Aultman compiled a perfect 4.0 grade point average and was named to the President’s List each semester. An ABAC professor praised Aultman, saying, “This student is highly involved, personable, and supportive of her peers. She raises the bar for any class or group in which she participates.” Aultman was recognized during the ceremony for being the first bachelor’s degree graduate of the Honors Program. She took Honors Program coursework throughout her college career.
Aultman was an ABAC Foundation Scholar, a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, and received an ABAC Pacesetter Award. She also participated in study abroad opportunities provided by ABAC. She is a former president of the ABAC Ambassadors and spent two summers as a Stallion Society member facilitating summer orientations. In the Tifton community, she has participated in “Rise Against Hunger” meal packing, “Read Across AmericaDay,” and the “Hands on Tifton” project.
As a student leader, Aultman represented her peers on the Library Committee, the Curriculum Committee, the President’s Enrollment Focus Group, and the Student Activity Fee Allocation committee. She also held a position on the Board of Directors for ABAC’s Interclub Council. She was also recognized in 2018 as the most outstanding student in her department.
With a 3.69 grade point average, Goodman received academic recognition as a member of the Dean’s List for the last three semesters and is an ABAC Foundation Scholar. She balanced the nursing curriculum with extracurricular activities including intramural softball, the Miss ABAC pageant, and the homecoming royalty campaign.
A professor in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences calls Goodman “a true asset to the nursing field,” saying, “she is a critical thinker with high standards, and she is devoted to helping others over herself.”
Goodman devoted herself to community service during her time on campus by volunteering with the Tifton Soup Kitchen and the Women’s First Choice organization. She also facilitates an annual canned goods drive in Chula each spring. She has held officer positions in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries organization and served as a small group coordinator.
As a youth intern at Macedonia Baptist Church, Goodman planned various youth events, fundraisers, and community outreach programs. She also served as a research assistant under Dr. Stanley Culpepper, completing undergraduate research in the area of weed science.
Spring term classes begin at ABAC on Jan. 7.