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ABAC President retires after 16 years

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 9:04 PM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - After 16 years, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) President Dr. David Bridges has decided to retire.

WALB’s Jim Wallace spoke to Dr. Bridges on Monday.

“Dr. Bridges, the University System has seen a lot of changes over the years. And I think ABAC has been one of the real success stories in the University System,” said Wallace.

“Yes, there are very few things that have remained constant over that time. But I challenged my folks when we first started 16 years ago, let’s make the changes that we need to make to be successful in the future. But let’s don’t change the things that make ABAC, ABAC. So that’s been our principal as we made the changes that we made,” Dr. Bridges.

“Becoming a 4-year college in some parts, almost lies the University of Georgia in the south as it goes to a lot of things. What improvements have been made in your tenure?” asked Wallace.

“I think the number one thing is, after 75 years of being a 2-year college, we became a 4-year college. And we started out with what we know best, which is agriculture. We started out with bachelor’s degrees in Ag first. But now we offer a total of 12 different bachelor’s degrees programs that pretty much cover the text of typical 4-year institutions. We have the Ag degrees, forestry, wildlife. We’ve got nursing, but we also got biology, history, writing, communications, rural community development, and business. So that has probably been the most transformative thing in my view,” said Dr. Bridges. “People always talk about facilities, and what have you. And we have really transformed the facilities. We have now renovated all the historic buildings. And doing so not just made them look good but also made them functional for the future. And we built quite a few new facilities as well. So we think we have a broad base and I think the college has a very bright future. And we never forget we are extremely, extremely affordable.”

“David, you’ve decided to retire. What are your plans for the future?” Wallace asked.

“Well, I have moved back to Terrell County where I grew up already. And of course, for the past four years in addition to being the President of the college, I’ve been the Director of the Georgia Center For Rural Prosperity and Innovation. And I will be devoting time to that. In retirement, spending more time on the family farm, hopefully traveling, and spend more time with grandkids,” Bridges replied.

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