TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Information from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College-
It was 107 years ago, February 20, 1908 when a special train rolled up the railroad tracks from downtown Tifton, for opening day ceremonies at the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School.
Today that school is known as Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
"It's always great to celebrate another birthday," ABAC President David Bridges said. "ABAC today is much different than it was in 1908 but let's give the faculty, staff, administration and students of the Agricultural and Mechanical School credit. They set the foundation for the success story that ABAC is today."
Downtown stores and the public school were closed on that special day in 1908. City officials even declared a holiday. Some 1,200 people attended the opening day ceremony. A total of 27 students enrolled then.
In 1906, Tifton won the bidding process for the site of the school over Albany, Pelham, Camilla, and Ashburn. Captain Henry Harding Tift, founder of Tifton, led the delegation and personally financed a portion of the bid.
ABAC President David Bridges, who took office in 2006, is the only ABAC president who is also an ABAC graduate (Class of '78).
The Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village is now a part of the ABAC campus as well as the Forest Lakes Golf Club. ABAC also enrolls almost 200 students for classes at ABAC on the Square in downtown Moultrie. A recent study showed the impact of ABAC on the south Georgia economy to be over $261 million on an annual basis.
ABAC now offers bachelor's degrees in Diversified Agriculture, Turfgrass and Golf Course Management, Biology, Business and Economic Development, and Natural Resource Management which features Forestry and Wildlife options.
The Rural Studies bachelor's degree is the only one of its kind in the United States, and offers options in Social and Community Development, Politics and Modern Cultures and Writing and Communication.
During the fall term, ABAC enrolled 3,458 students.