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Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) is one of the largest, residential state colleges in Georgia with an enrollment of almost 3,700 students. ABAC is located in Tifton, Ga., a community which has twice been selected as one of the "100 best small towns in America."
Two new Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S) degrees in Diversified Agriculture and Turfgrass and Golf Club Management complement the existing 55 programs of study in the two-year curriculum.
Selected as one of top 10 community colleges in America by Washington Monthly Magazine in 2007, ABAC is known worldwide for its diverse programs including a turfgrass management program, which was rated seventh in North America by TurfNet Magazine in 2007.
The Division of Agriculture and Forest Resources is the largest division on campus with a wide variety of programs such as Golf Club Management, Wildlife, and Forestry. Because of its depth of programs, the college attracts students from 154 Georgia counties, 12 other states, and nine countries. Nursing is the largest single major at Abraham Baldwin with over 700 students taking classes for their associate degree, aiming for Registered Nurse (R.N.) status.
ABAC offers a wide variety of intercollegiate sports programs including men's and women's basketball, men's and women's tennis, women's fast-pitch softball, baseball, men's golf, women's soccer and rodeo. ABAC has won three national championships in women's softball and two national titles in men's tennis. Monika Lalewicz won the women's tennis singles national championship for ABAC in 2008.
Other extracurricular interests for the students include a very popular music program which includes a concert band, jazz band, concert choir, and jazz choir. The Jazz Band completed a European tour in 2007. The college has its own theatre troupe called the Baldwin Players. Other students write for the award-winning student newspaper, "The Stallion," or the literary magazine, "Pegasus." ABAC also has its own student radio station, "WPLH," and a television studio.
Students at the college choose from 40 transfer programs, which transfer without loss of credit to other units of the University System of Georgia, or the 15 majors in the career technological program, which are designed to be completed after two years of study. Persons who want to upgrade their skills or acquire expertise in a particular area of study can enroll in six one-year certificate programs.
In 1987, ABAC expanded its scope to include classes in Moultrie, Ga., at a location in the center of downtown called "ABAC on the Square." The Moultrie location has proven to be very popular with almost 400 students now attending classes there. These students select from a variety of core curriculum classes.
To meet the needs of its students, ABAC has joined with four other members of the University System to offer undergraduate and graduate degree classes leading to other bachelor's and master's degrees without students ever leaving Tifton. Students take freshman and sophomore level classes from Abraham Baldwin and then junior and senior level classes from the other colleges and universities including Macon State College, Valdosta State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, and the University of Georgia.
In terms of the number of programs offered, ABAC has the third largest continuing education program in the University System. The Public Service and Business Outreach Center touches thousands of people on an annual basis.
ABAC's 421-acre campus includes the 12-acre Lake Baldwin and the 200-acre J.G. Woodroof Farm. Woodroof was ABAC's first president in 1933. The ABAC Foundation owns the 91-acre Forest Lakes Golf Club, which proves a perfect teaching laboratory for students in programs ranging from Agricultural Equipment Technology to Sports Turf Management.
The college is named for Abraham Baldwin, a Georgia signer of the United States Constitution and the first president of The University of Georgia. The first students attended the institution in 1908 when it was an area high school called the Second District A&M School. The name was changed to the South Georgia A&M College in 1925 when it became a four-year college.
In 1929, the college changed its name again to the Georgia State College for Men, a four-year school which even featured a football team. The Rams' most famous victory was over the University of Miami.
The University System of Georgia was formed in 1932, and the college assumed two-year status and its present title in 1933.
Prominent ABAC alumni include George T. Smith, the only Georgian to be elected to all three branches of state government. He was a former Lieutenant Governor, Supreme Court Justice, and Speaker of the House. Former Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox is also an ABAC alumna.