ABAC in brief: SANR tops enrollment record


The School of Agriculture and Natural Resources (SANR) broke its previous enrollment record this fall at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

A total of 1,446 students were enrolled in the SANR on the second day of classes on Aug. 11. That tops the previous record of 1,360 enrolled in the fall of 2020.

“I believe it’s an affirmation of the reputation and legacy of ABAC,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry, and we are preparing students every day to become a part of that industry. The jobs are there, and we intend to fill those jobs with our graduates who will be ready to hit the ground running.”

Agriculture is the largest SANR major with 565 students. Other top choices for students are Agribusiness with 273, Natural Resource Management which includes Forestry and Wildlife with 266, and Agricultural Education with 213.

Dr. David Bridges begins his 16th year as college president. Photo courtesy ABAC

Enrollment in the SANR at ABAC has increased by 79% in the past 10 years. This year’s SANR enrollment includes 801 males and 645 females.

Bridges anticipates that the final overall enrollment number for the fall semester will be about the same as the 2020 figure of 3,990 students, the second-largest enrollment in the history of ABAC.

New $14.4 Million Project

Funding has been secured for the construction phase of a $14.4 million agricultural facilities project, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President David Bridges said.

“Agricultural technology is the future of agriculture at ABAC,” Bridges said. “These new facilities will allow us to train ABAC students with cutting edge technology in state-of-the-art facilities, making sure that ABAC graduates are ready to go to work.”

Bridges said Georgia legislators approved $1.1 million in planning money for the agricultural facilities enhancement project in the 2021 fiscal year and then followed that up with $11.8 million in construction funding for the existing year. He hopes that lawmakers fund $1.5 million in equipment costs in the Fiscal Year 2023 to complete the $14.4 million project.

ABAC Director of Facilities and Land Resources Tim Carpenter said the project includes 28,000 square feet of new construction and renovation of the 22,215 square-foot Chambliss Building.

Carpenter said the new construction includes a pre-engineered steel structure with brick veneer containing three elements including a high- bay clear span shop to support the large-scale equipment necessary for modern agricultural engineering technology, precision agriculture, and forestry program operations; a high bay clear span covered structure for livestock and animal science instruction, youth programs, equipment operation, and display, and other related activities that would benefit from a covered open-air venue; and central connector space including restrooms, service space, instructional space, office and service space, and facility storage.

“The renovation of the Chambliss Building will include enhanced specialized labs to support smaller-scale equipment and materials involved in agriculture, technology, forestry, and agricultural education programs,” Carpenter said. “Upgraded shop functions will include welding, hydraulics, engine, machine, and fabrication. The renovation will also include classrooms, offices, and service space.”

Run for the Nurses

Registration is now open for the Run for the Nurses on Oct. 30 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The Run for the Nurses begins with the half marathon at 8 a.m. followed by the 5K at 8:15 a.m.

ABAC Alumni Director Lynda Fisher said the half marathon is certified by USA Track and Field and serves as a qualifier for major national races. Chip timing will be used. Runners can register online at www. abac.edu/alumni or at http://www.active.com.

Registration for the 5K is $30 per person through Oct. 1. From Oct. 2 through Oct. 29, the cost is $35. Race day registration is $40. For the half marathon, the registration is $60 through Oct. 1, $65 from Oct. 2-29, and $70 on race day.

The Run for the Nurses helps to fund the Lisa Purvis Allison Spirit of Nursing Scholarship at ABAC. Ross said the scholarship is awarded to two qualified nursing students each year.

Bridges Begins 16th Year

When Dr. David Bridges became the 10th president in the history of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on July 1, 2006, he had two main goals in mind.

“I knew we had to find a way to ensure the viability of the institution for the next 100 years, and we had to promote a sense of excellence across the curriculum,” Bridges, who began his 16th year at ABAC on July 1, said. “Bachelor’s degrees were the key to both of those goals.”

Bachelor’s degree graduates walked across the ABAC stage in Gressette Gymnasium for the first time at the 2009 commencement. ABAC was a two-year college for 75 years.

“Bachelor’s degrees changed everything,” Bridges said. “Bachelor’s degrees changed our relationship with prospective employers for our graduates. I think it changed the way people feel about us and the way we feel about ourselves.”

Bridges is the longest-serving president in the history of ABAC and the longest-serving president among the 26 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia. He is also the only ABAC president to have once been an ABAC student. He graduated from ABAC with an associate degree in 1978.

Compiled from ABAC public relations releases.

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