Jun. 26—TIFTON — David Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, received an honorary agricultural education pin at the recent pinning ceremony for graduates of the agricultural education program at ABAC.
"That was a real honor for me," Bridges said. "The agricultural education program continues to grow, and I am happy that ABAC is making a concerted effort to alleviate the shortage of teachers in agricultural education across the state and the nation."
Bridges is about to complete his 15th year at ABAC, making him the longest-serving president in the history of the college. He is also the longest-serving president among the 26 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia. Bridges is the only ABAC president to have ever been a student at the college. He graduated with the ABAC Class of 1978.
A total of 40 ABAC graduates received their bachelor's degrees in agricultural education at the recent spring commencement ceremony. For the third consecutive year, ABAC produced more graduates with a bachelor's degree in agricultural education than any other college or university east of the Mississippi River.
"The pinning ceremony is an event that signifies the student teachers' completion of a true capstone experience," Andrew Thoron, head of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at ABAC, said. "This event really holds up and recognizes those who have not only achieved a B.S. degree, but also those who went through and completed a certification program as well."
Thoron said the unique pin symbolizes the integrity and high ideals expressed in the Agricultural Education Teacher's Creed. The pin was specially designed for bachelor's degree graduates in agricultural education from ABAC.
At the pinning ceremony, Thoron said, "President Bridges, although this is only our third class of ABAC ag ed graduates, it has become a tradition to pin an honorary member of the graduating class. This year, we would like for you to accept this honor.
"You have been a special friend to the agricultural education program. It is well known that without your commitment to establish ag ed at ABAC that we would not be here today."
Sallie McHugh, an assistant professor of Agricultural Education, performed the pinning honors. Fall semester classes begin at ABAC on Aug. 10.