ABAC numbers continue to rise - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ABAC numbers continue to rise

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July 5, 2006

Tifton - - One of Georgia's fastest growing colleges isn't slowing down a bit. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is about to offer its first 4-year degrees and enrollment continues to rise. The college's new President wants it to stay that way.

Greg Long could've graduated this year with an A.A. degree. But when the school started offering classes leading up to a four year Bachelor's degree this year, he decided to keep on trucking.

 "It will open up more opportunities after I graduate."

He wants to construct golf-courses so he went to the school that's known for these types of agricultural programs.

"I like it. It's a real small, real tight campus. It's real beautiful especially this time of year when everything's blooming."

But the small atmosphere he's used to is growing. In 1998, there were just 2600 students enrolled. In 2002, that jumped to 3000. Last year, 3400 students attended school here.

New ABAC President David Bridges wants continued growth, but says the atmosphere doesn't have to suffer as a result.

"I think the small atmosphere comes to a certain extent from how we treat students, not necessarily how many students there are, but how we treat students."

Today's his first day on the job. The college is moving beyond its agricultural roots - offering classes in business, health, and education. Bridges says it will never lose its agricultural base though.

"The old saying is dance with who brung ya and agriculture has been an important foundation and part of ABAC for its first hundred years, it will continue to be a vitally important part in the future."

Long likes it that way. He says experienced professors are what keeps him interested in learning.

"They have a lot of experience in the field too. My main instructor built golf courses for 15 years before he came here to teach."

Showing him that he can too.

ABAC plans to open a brand new health science building this fall. It's also making plans to build a new freshman dorm to acommodate an additional 500 students.

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