TIFTON — A retirement reception for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President David Bridges will be held from 5-7 p.m. on April 7 in the atrium of ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture at 1392 Whiddon Mill Road in Tifton.
Sponsored by the ABAC Foundation, guests should RSVP for the event at link.abac.edu/bridges_retirement. The reception is a drop-in event with a program planned for 6:15 p.m.
Bridges is the longest-serving president in ABAC history, beginning his tenure on July 1, 2006. He announced plans to retire this spring. He is also the longest-serving president among the 26 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia.
A native of Parrott, Bridges is the only ABAC president to have once been an ABAC student, receiving his ABAC associate’s degree in 1978 before completing his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Auburn University and his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.
Prior to becoming the 10th president in the history of ABAC, Bridges was the assistant dean of the Tifton Campus of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He joined the UGA faculty in 1987 as an assistant professor in the department of Crop and Soil Sciences.
Bridges, 63, will retire as one of the most accomplished presidents in the 114-year history of ABAC. After offering only associate’s degrees for 75 years, the college began offering bachelor’s degrees under Bridges’ leadership in 2008.
In 2010, Bridges navigated the addition of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture to the ABAC campus. Formerly known as the Georgia Agrirama, the facility is still open to the public, and ABAC students guide thousands of school children annually through the museum in the Destination Ag program.
Bridges also masterminded a $15 million project in 2012 to rehabilitate the entire front of campus, which culminated with the renovation of ABAC’s three original buildings: Tift Hall, Lewis Hall, and Herring Hall.
Through Bridges’ work with the ABAC Foundation, the college now offers more than $800,000 in scholarships for students, the largest amount of scholarship funds in the history of ABAC. The foundation’s net assets have doubled during Bridges’ tenure.
In 2017 and 2018, Bridges concentrated his efforts on the consolidation of the former Bainbridge State College into ABAC. The college now holds commencement ceremonies in Tifton and Bainbridge.