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May 26, 2021

Spinks Selected for Roy R. Jackson Award at ABAC

TIFTON—Kim Spinks has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Roy R. Jackson Award for Staff Excellence, presented each year to the top staff member at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Presented in memory of Roy R. Jackson, Sr., award recipients must have completed at least 10 years of continuous full-time service to ABAC.  Award criteria states that the staff member must be dependable, loyal, reliable, and one who contributes to the growth and development of the college beyond the normal call of duty. Now serving as the Office Coordinator for the Office of Academic Support, Spinks has been an ABAC staff member for 22 years. A coworker states Spinks is always pleasant and professional, whether her focus is on a recruit, applicant, student, graduate, parent, alumnus, visitor or an ABAC employee.  She has proven to be flexible and adaptive at ABAC, serving in various positions and working well as a team member or alone, depending on the task, and is always ready and willing to assist any co-worker when needed in a pinch.  Another coworker writes that Spinks processes graduation applications promptly and adds a personal touch by sending a lovely congratulatory note to the soon-to-be ABAC alumnus as well as to their advisor.  In so doing, it keeps both the advisor and student up-to-date and informed.  One colleague says Spinks is service-oriented and “others-minded, always going above and beyond to assist ABAC students.  I believe our students, faculty, and staff would all agree that this year’s awardee has a genuine desire to make the ABAC experience positive.” ###
May 25, 2021

ABAC Faculty Member Selected for Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame

TIFTON—Dr. Farish Mulkey, an assistant professor of agricultural education at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, has been selected for the Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame.  Mulkey joins two current ABAC faculty members, Dr. Frank Flanders and Von Peavy, in the Hall of Fame. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Mulkey and the fact that ABAC now has three active faculty members in the Hall of Fame,” Dr. Andrew Thoron, Head of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at ABAC, said. “I think this proves without a doubt that ABAC is vested in agricultural education in Georgia.” Mulkey began his 32-year career in agricultural education as a classroom agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Macon County High School in 1988.  His career continues today at ABAC where he advises, teaches, and prepares the next crop of agricultural educators. In a career that saw him teach both middle and high school in Macon County, Worth County, Bainbridge, and Stephens County, Mulkey and his students have achieved a great deal of success. He served as advisor to 61 state degree recipients, 14 American Degree recipients, 18 state and four national Career Development Event winners, and nine state proficiency award winners. The role of an agricultural education teacher is very diverse. In addition to teaching and guiding students, agriculture teachers are expected to make an impact on their community and their profession. Just as he did as an FFA advisor, Mulkey excelled at those expectations. Mulkey served as a Young Farmer advisor, providing instruction for adults in his community, was named Teacher of the Year in his school system, participated on local Farm Bureau boards, and served on committees within the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. A Georgia Agricultural Education Hall of Fame spokesman said that Mulkey's very decorated and successful career was not highlighted by the many plaques, trophies, and ribbons that his students earned; rather his career is highlighted by the character that he exhibited and instilled in the young people he taught in class. ###
May 24, 2021

Luke-Morgan Receives Teaching Excellence Award at ABAC

TIFTON—Dr. Audrey Luke-Morgan has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Teaching Excellence at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. First awarded in 1965, the purpose of the prestigious award is to publicly recognize superior instruction and exemplary service to the college by honoring one faculty member each year, as chosen by a special representative committee of faculty and students. The recipient is honored with a recognition plaque and a monetary award. To be eligible for consideration for the Donaldson Teaching Excellence Award, a faculty member must be a full-time instructor with five or more years of continuous service to the college. An Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Luke-Morgan has taught at ABAC since 2012. She received an associate degree from ABAC, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Georgia (UGA), a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from UGA, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. To best meet the needs of her students, Luke-Morgan has each student complete a biography and self-assessment so that she can tailor each course to target skills such as public speaking or use of spreadsheet software. “I believe that you must move out of your comfort zone to reach your full potential to learn and grow,” Luke-Morgan said. Several letters of support reference Luke-Morgan’s passion and fire for her subject matter. Dr. Mark Kistler, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said, “she strives to kindle each student’s curiosity for lifelong learning.” A peer recommendation states that she peaks the students’ interest in introductory classes where they often struggle with terminology with “practical and everyday examples to demonstrate use and application. She then pushes her juniors and seniors to rise to a much higher bar of performance in her classes.” A former student writes, “It is very easy to lecture about all of the things you know, but to translate that knowledge into a conversation that everyone can understand is a special gift that makes the best professors.” Luke-Morgan was the 1992 valedictorian at Fitzgerald High School. In 1994, she was selected as the top academic student at ABAC, receiving the J.G. Woodroof Scholar award with a 4.0 grade point average. ###
May 20, 2021

ABAC’s Polly Huff Receives Top Honor from Georgia Association of Museums

TIFTON—The Georgia Association of Museums (GAM) recently honored Polly Huff from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with the Museum Professional Award, the industry’s top honor for a museum professional currently serving in the state of Georgia.  Huff, the curator at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture (GMA) in Tifton, received the award at the virtual meeting of the Georgia Association for Museums Conference.  “The Middleton Shoe Shop,” an original exhibition at the Museum curated by Huff, also won the Exhibit Award in Category 2, which encompasses project budgets below $25,000. Nominating Committee Chair Virginia Howell, Director of the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, and members April Moon Carlson, Independent Museum Consultant; Christa McCay, Curator of the Marietta Museum of History; and Holly Beasley Wait, Director of the National Civil War Naval Museum, singled out Huff for “more than two decades of producing innovative exhibits, maximizing limited resources in incredibly creative ways, and being an advocate for the museum field.” In her role as the ABAC curator, Huff oversees a collection of more than 100,000 GMA artifacts. She has designed and installed over 100 significant exhibitions at the GMA, the Art Gallery, and satellite locations; oversees the institutional archives on campus and at the Museum; handles the curatorial duties at ABAC’s Fulwood Garden Center; and is the staff liaison for Tifton’s Wiregrass Farmers Market. “The Middleton Shoe Shop” project took the Museum’s curatorial staff on a journey across the country and back to the 1800s when a cache of mysterious shoe shop artifacts donated by an Indiana resident was discovered at the GMA 40 years after the donation had taken place. Months of intense research with the assistance of museum colleagues from across the country eventually identified the shoemaker in the lone photograph stored with the artifacts as James Middleton, a Tifton shoemaker who lived and worked in the area in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Huff and restoration specialist David King built an exhibit duplicating the exact scene of Middleton’s shoe shop depicted in that lone photograph. Working with local restoration photographer Charles Styer, Huff recreated a life size rendering of the shop complete with a wall mural of the Middleton wagon, a lifelike museum figure replica of Middleton himself, and a display of several hundred shoemaking artifacts. The exhibit’s wooden shoe forms were treated with a special museum wax, which infused the nostalgic scent of shoeshine paste into the experience.  When the pandemic brought everything to a halt in 2020, Huff and her senior media intern, Tristin Clements from Tifton, filmed the exhibit installation and converted the opening into a virtual event, offering it to Museum guests in the early days of the pandemic to the sound of a nostalgic 1890s tune. Huff was recently elected for a third term on the GAM Board of Directors.  She is a frequent panelist and presenter for the state organization and its membership.                                                             ###
May 18, 2021

ABAC Begins Four-Day Work Week

TIFTON—For the second consecutive summer, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will utilize a four-day work week. ABAC President David Bridges said ABAC’s hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on a Monday through Thursday basis. The college will be closed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  “Closing three days a week will save energy during the hot months of the summer,” Bridges said.  “Employees can also enjoy a three-day weekend with their families during this time.” The four-day ABAC work week began May 17 will continue through July 24.  Summer term classes begin at ABAC on June 1.  The fall semester opens Aug. 10. ###
May 17, 2021

Abbeville Graduate Receives Top Award at ABAC Commencement

TIFTON—Meredith McGlamory, an Agricultural Communication major from Abbeville, received the ABAC Alumni Association Award as the top graduate participating in the commencement ceremony on Friday at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Because of social distancing guidelines, ABAC hosted three commencement ceremonies, two in Tifton and one in Bainbridge.  A total of 302 graduates participated in the ceremonies.  McGlamory received a plaque and a check for $500 from the ABAC Alumni Association, which sponsors the award and conducts the interviews which lead to the selection of the winner. The recipient of the award must participate in the commencement ceremony.  The award recognizes scholarship, leadership, and citizenship. From her role as Homecoming Queen to the time she rode on horseback carrying the flag for the Alpha Gamma Rho Breast Cancer Barrel Race, McGlamory has experienced all sides of ABAC. A stellar academic student with a 3.73 grade point average, McGlamory was a Distinguished Honor Student and made the Dean’s List and the President’s List.  She interned with Bayer Crop Science where she worked on experimental chemical plots in row crops.  She also went on a study abroad trip to Belize and took part in a mission trip to Bolivia. At one point in her ABAC career, McGlamory was the Social Media Intern for the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition.  She also served as an active member of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow.  McGlamory has worked at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, and she traveled with other ABAC students on the annual Farm Tour when they visited Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Closer to home, McGlamory has guided visitors on the Sunbelt Expo trams, dealt with small animals at Branch’s Vet Clinic, and worked in Plant Pathology at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station.  A Ms. ABAC Finalist, she often helped to recruit new students at Stallion Day. One of McGlamory’s references said, “she strives for success in everything she does and always represents ABAC in a positive manner.” McGlamory plans to travel to New Zealand after graduation to take part in an outreach ministry program. Summer term classes begin at ABAC on June 1, and the fall semester opens Aug. 10. ###

News Archive

View Archive Abbeville Graduate Receives Top Award at ABAC Commencement
May 21, 2024

Local artists with various disabilities showcase their art in special exhibit at Georgia Museum of Agriculture

TIFTON — Local Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) artists and artists with other special needs will have their work on display in an exhibition beginning June 1 titled "Special Art From Special Folks: Art of Autism 2" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's Georgia Museum of Agriculture (GMA) Gallery.This annual project, which started in Dec. 2021 with the first Art of Autism exhibition, aims to positively impact individuals with special needs and those who love and care for them, through the power of art. The project, built with art made by local artists of all ages and abilities, provides a safe and celebratory space for artists with various special needs to showcase their work.According to Museum Curator Polly Huff, the exhibit has proven to unlock enhanced communication through creative expression and improve imagination and motor skills in some of the artists. Additionally, the project aims to build stronger relationships within families with neurodiverse children in the Tifton community.The exhibit features a diverse range of art forms, including visual art, digital art, 3-D art, textiles, and a written word component. ABAC graduate Nicolas Johnson, who served as the senior curatorial intern in the inaugural exhibit, played a crucial role in bringing the project to fruition, and is also one of the participating artists in both the first and second editions.Community parent liaison Donna Johnston and local non-profit Tru Colors Artistic Organization worked closely with the families, artists, and curatorial staff at the GMA to bring this exhibition to life. The Ark of Southwest Georgia also promoted the exhibition and is featuring some of their own artists in the lineup.To ensure an inclusive experience, the GMA's curatorial and interpretive staff have collaborated to provide a sensory-friendly experience for visitors on the opening day, June 1. Guests with low sensory needs can request a special sticker, alerting the staff to their preference for a low-sensory experience. Headphones for the train will also be available upon request.The exhibit opens to the public with a drop-in milk and cookies reception on June 1 at 2 p.m. in the museum's art gallery. Visitors can enjoy the exhibit until July 25, with admission included in the daily museum admission, available for purchase at The Country Store.In addition, Huff has implemented a quiet space for museum visitors with ASD and designed a social story for the GMA Gallery. These resources aim to provide meaningful information, options, expectation parameters, and flexibility to visitors with ASD, making their museum experience less stressful.For more information about the "Special Art From Special Folks: Art of Autism 2" exhibit, please visit or contact the museum at 229-391-5205.
May 16, 2024

Dr. Mary Ellen Hicks selected for top advising award at ABAC

TIFTON – Dr. Mary Ellen Hicks, a professor in Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has been selected as the 2024 W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Excellence in Advising Award Winner. Hicks is the second repeat award winner in the award's history and was also awarded the Donaldson Award for Teaching and Student Engagement. “Mastering class scheduling and degree requirements has been the easiest part of serving as an academic advisor,” Hicks said. “What is more difficult are the questions and concerns over what careers to pursue that pertain to the student’s passion for livestock production and food production. As an advisor, I began to realize that the best advising I could do with and for the students revolved around the professional life I lead and the involvement I have with the animal industry I am passionate about. I want to make sure the student takes the correct courses every semester but what really matters is what the student will do with those courses and, more importantly, the knowledge they have obtained while at ABAC.” Hicks started her collegiate journey at ABAC, graduating with an AS degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine before continuing at the University of Georgia for a BS and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. The criteria for the award includes strong interpersonal skills, a caring attitude toward advisees, mastery of institutional regulations and policies and procedures, the ability to engage in career and life planning versus simply course scheduling, and availability to advisees.  Other factors in considering this recognition include peer perception of nominee’s advising skills, and student advisee evaluations. The recognition includes a monetary award and commemorative plaque.  It was first presented at the 2000 Honors Day ceremony.  Hicks dedicates her time and energy to a holistic approach of advising, academics, and industry exposure for students with her work as the ABAC Cattlemen’s chapter advisor, organizing industry tours to a variety of feedyard operations every spring, and encouraging student officers to attend convention and trade show events.“She is not only a wonderful advisor, but also an amazing person,” said one of her nominating advisees. “She allows me to ask her any questions even if it is not related to academics. She is always very truthful and gives genuine advice on what steps to take to get to where you need or want to be.”
May 16, 2024

ABAC opens with Pima in NJCAA Softball World Series

TIFTON – The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Fillies will open the 2024 NJCAA Division I Softball World Series next week against the Aztecs from Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz. The game will be played Monday, May 20 at 1 p.m. (CDT) at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala.ABAC (34-16) won the Mid-Atlantic District Championship at home last week with a best-of-three series win over Florence-Darlington Tech. Next week will be the first appearance for the Fillies in the Division I World Series since 2019.“To have 23 young ladies, 19 of them freshmen, and watch them grow from where we started back in August, this is great,” said ABAC first-year head coach Mike Reed. “When we got started and they were running at 6 a.m., they started chanting ‘Oxford’. They trusted the process and reached that goal … they get all the credit. They are a talented group and even better young ladies.”Pima won the West District Championship on Saturday with an 8-5 win over Eastern Arizona. The Aztecs are 42-12 on the season and have won their last seven games. Pima is also celebrating a return to the national tournament after an extended absence as the last Aztec team to reach the World Series was in 2013.Twenty teams make up the field, 16 District champions, and four at-large teams. ABAC is seeded 19th and Pima is the 14th seed. The winner of their matchup advances to the second round to face third-seeded Northwest Florida State, the three-time defending national champion. The loser will face either Florida Southwestern, Odessa (Tex.) or Trinidad State (Col.). All second-round games will be played on Tuesday, May 21.While Reed’s team has only a handful of sophomores, three have provided some of the most offensive firepower. Carter Gore from Pinetta, Fla. leads the team in batting average (.406), RBIs (45), and doubles (33). Carnesville’s Laney McGee leads the team in hits (73) and is second in average (.403), RBIs (39), and runs scored (44). Lexi Metts, an outfielder from Valdosta, leads the team in runs scored (48) and stolen bases (27).The pitching duo of Jaci Smiley and Kaylee Barrett have combined for 25 of the team’s 33 wins this year.“It’s the best teams in the country and I’m proud that we’re in that group, especially since it’s our last year before moving up (to NAIA competition),” Reed said. “We’re focused on winning every time we play. But I also want the team to experience what it’s all about and enjoy that.”
May 13, 2024

ABAC faculty members receive promotions, tenure for 2024-2025 academic year

TIFTON - Eleven faculty members will receive promotions and six will be granted tenure when the 2024-2025 academic year begins at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.Promoted to the rank of professor from the School of Arts and Sciences were Dr. Christopher Beals, Dr. Charlotte Klesman, Dr. Joseph Devaney, Dr. Adrian Israel Martinez-Franco and Dr. Brian Yost. In the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Vanessa Lane was promoted to the rank of professor.Faculty members from the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources promoted to associate professor included Dr. Shannon Kidombo, Dr. Farish Mulkey, Dr. Olumide Aborisade and Dr. Sergio Pichardo.Von Peavy, from the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was promoted to senior lecturer.Tenure may be granted to a faculty member who has at least reached the rank of assistant professor and has shown the potential for making significant contributions to the college and the faculty member’s field of study.Pichardo, Martinez-Franco, Mulkey, Aborisade and Kidombo, as well as Jennifer Harrison from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, were granted tenure.Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Amy Willis said the promotions and tenure will become effective July 1 for 12-month faculty members and on Aug. 1 for 10-month faculty members. The 2024 fall semester begins at ABAC on Aug. 18.
May 10, 2024

Moore wins Donaldson Award for Excellence in Student Engagement at ABAC

TIFTON — Dr. Austin Moore has been selected for the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Excellence in Student Engagement at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.An Assistant Professor from the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Moore earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Communications and Education and his Master of Science in Agricultural Communication from Texas Tech University and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communication from Oklahoma State University.“It is so humbling to receive this recognition,” said Moore. “I feel this award is a tribute to the character of the Agricultural Communications program here at ABAC, which is focused on hands-on learning and real-world experiences. We are just getting started.”The award celebrates and rewards faculty members who excel in mentoring students through interdisciplinary collaborations, innovative projects, internship opportunities, undergraduate research, or other academic enrichment experiences that engage students actively in the learning process. Moore not only mentors students completing internships, such as the Sunbelt Ag Expo social media internships, he advises the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow club and is co-advisor for the newly formed Collegiate 4-H Club.The head of Moore’s department said he “exhibits student engagement from the moment students step into our major and continues to engage our students throughout their professional career … [He] prompts students to have conversations, ask questions, and seek thoughts from additional experts.”A peer nomination stated that “while his CV will document his excellence in mentoring students, it cannot adequately illuminate the high quality of his character or steadfast commitment to supporting ABAC students. He regularly taps into his extensive professional network to place students in internships, graduate school assistantships, and employment positions, often talking associates into creating these positions especially for the student in question.”A 2023 graduate and former student shares that Moore “was a vital influence in my academic journey both in and out of the classroom. Throughout my time at ABAC, he was relentless in his pursuit to better the ABAC Agricultural Communication program, and all the students he came into contact with. From undergraduate research to internships, he excels in all areas of student engagement.”
May 9, 2024

ABAC graduates 350 at spring commencement

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College graduated 350 students during its Spring Commencement ceremonies Thursday. Georgia State Supreme Court Justice John Ellington, an ABAC alumnus, was the featured speaker. “First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be a graduate of ABAC and congratulate you on your graduation,” Ellington said. “The education, the values, the experiences you learn at ABAC prepare you for success in life. What impressed me most about ABAC was the opportunity to grow intellectually and as a person. Life is a team sport. At ABAC, along with critical thinking and curiosity, you learn to respect other people. You learn leadership and communication skills; you learn to value honesty and hard work and how to collaborate with other people, all while having fun.”The 2024 recipient of the David and Kim Bridges Award was Ivey Cook, an Agricultural Education major from Ty Ty. The award recognizes scholarship, leadership, and citizenship to a graduate receiving a four-year degree. Cook graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Georgia Teaching Certificate. She has been on the President’s List and the Dean’s List.  She was also the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Spotlight for the Board of Regents meeting on ABAC’s campus. She served as an ABAC Ambassador, a School of Agriculture and Natural Resources Leader, an SGA Senator, an ABAC Peer Educator, and a member of the Collegiate FFA, the Horticulture Club, the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Agripreneurs, Women in Ag and Natural Resources, the Stallion Society, and the Agronomy Club.She also participated in the Green and Gold Gala, the Fall Festival, Homecoming, Freshman Move-In, Sunbelt Expo, Halloween Festival, SGA Easter Egg Hunt, AET Truck and Tractor Pull, An Evening for ABAC, Family Weekend and many more.“Many former students often say had it not been for their ABAC experience, they would not have achieved the personal and professional accomplishments they have enjoyed,” said ABAC President Tracy Brundage. “We hear those stories, and we love them because they demonstrate the value of your time spent here with us on this incredible campus. It is our hope that we have inspired you with the qualities of resiliency, curiosity, determination, and the ability to share your own personal story that will unfold from this day forward.”Brooke Patry, Student Government Association President, urged her fellow graduates to take the ABAC spirit with them as they take the next step in their personal journeys.“As your SGA President, I have had the opportunity to witness the incredible spirit that defines our student body,” Patry said. “As we step into the next chapters of our lives, let us carry that spirit and those values with us. I am confident that each of you will achieve remarkable things. Our potential is limitless. Let’s go out into the world and show them what the ABAC spirit is all about – perseverance, determination, and the commitment to making a difference.”