FEB. 14, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


King Hall , constructed in  1939 on  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College' s campus, is undergoing a   $1.8 million renovation.

Following the renovation, the building will be home to six classrooms and 12 offices. Faculty members whose offices were in King Hall have been located elsewhere on campus until the renovation is expected to be complete in mid July.

"The King Hall renovation will focus only on the interior of the building. The original bricks on the exterior will stay," said Tim Carpenter, director of ABAC's housing operations . "The building will have an elevator for the first time. We're not touching the roof because it was replaced a few years ago."

Carpenter said the building is expected to be ready for the fall semester beginning Aug. 16.

King Hall is named for Dr. George H. King, who was ABAC president from 1934 to 1947. During one stretch of his presidency, he was also director of the adjacent Coastal Plain Experiment Station.

The renovation is but the latest building rehabilitation on the college campus. Four years ago, ABAC re-dedicated its historic front campus with major renovations of Tift, Lewis and Herring halls, three of the original buildings from the college's 1908 opening, along with major improvements to the campus front lawn and its circular drive known as "Sweetheart Circle."

The 2017 "Rally for Reading" played out Sunday afternoon at the ABAC Red Hill Tennis Center.

Hall of Fame Coach Red Hill attended as "honorary chairman" of the tennis event, a fundraiser for the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.

A total of 54 players representing four continents and seven countries filled the ABAC tennis courts to have fun raising money for Tifton to become the "REAL (Read Aloud) Capital of the World."

Participants ranged from ages five to 74. Reading Capital mascot Ricki Reader fired up the crowd. Local k indergartener Solomon Nixon III read aloud to the audience from his book on tennis great Arthur Ashe.

In the photo, Ricki Reader (portrayed by Connor Jackson) joins Solomon  Nixon III and Hendley Gabel at the Rally.


Chris Beckham has been appointed vice president of the  Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Brian Marlowe announced.

Beckham has served as the Chamber's part-time communications manager for the past three years and worked with the Chamber on special projects for several years before that.
"We are excited to have Chris on board in his new capacity as vice president," Marlowe said. "This will
 allow us to continue to provide exceptional service to our membership and the community whileexploring additional opportunities for economic growth. Chris is an excellent addition to our wonderful team of volunteers and staff serving the Tifton-Tift County community."
Beckham previously served as managing editor of The Tifton Gazette and has also hosted daily radio shows in Tifton and in Valdosta. He is a member and past president of the Tifton Exchange Club, was a long-time board member and vice president of the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence and served several years as the board chairman for the Salvation Army.
Beckham will be involved in all facets of the Chamber of Commerce, including communications, membership services, special events and day-to-day operations.
"I am excited about the new role and eager to help the Chamber grow and provide even more services to our members," Beckham said. "Our mission is to help our existing members thrive while working to bring more jobs to our community. We plan to find more exciting ways to achieve both of those objectives, and I am looking forward to being involved on a full-time basis. We have a great staff here and many hard-working and dedicated volunteers. I'm proud to be a part of it."
Beckham and his wife Stacey, public relations director for the Tift County Board of Education, have two sons, Chase and Jackson.

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Armond Morris, a peanut farmer from Ocilla, was recently re-elected chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission during its February board meeting.

This is Morris' 16th term as chairman; he served in 1996 and 1997, in 2003, and then every year since 2005.

"I look forward to serving Georgia's peanut growers as chairman in 2017. It is a pleasure to serve peanut producers in the state of Georgia, and the commission is continually working to serve all peanut farmers in the state through research, promotion and education," Morris said.

"This is a critical time for Georgia agriculture and peanut producers. As farm income has declined, the next farm bill will be even more important to our peanut producers and family farmers. We are excited to have national agricultural leaders like our future Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president, who understand the importance of agriculture to the rural economy." 

Other officers elected include Joe Boddiford of Sylvania as vice chairman, and Rodney Dawson of Hawkinsville as treasurer.


Prospective students can take their first step toward a nursing career in an information session 8-9
 a.m. Feb. 21 in the Health Sciences building at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Becky Arnold, nursing a ssociate professor, said the session will include information on both ABAC's bachelor's and associate degree in nursing.

"The sessions are a great time to meet faculty and get your questions answered as you prepare to begin your nursing education," Arnold said. " Nursing faculty will be available to discuss our nursing degrees in both group and one-on-one settings."

Arnold said the session is open to prospective new students, transfer students, practicing nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics and anyone else who may be interested in pursuing a degree in nursing. Campus representatives from admissions and financial aid will be on hand to assist students and answer questions.

For information, visit  or call 229-391-5020.


Pianist Read Gainsford performs at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in Howard Auditorium at Abraham Baldwin 
Agricultural College as part of the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series.

Dubbed the "Pianist of the People," Gainsford's international career has led him to travel the major theatres and concert halls of the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.

Born in New Zealand, Gainsford studied at the University of Auckland before moving to London to work at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He relocated to the United States to earn a doctorate from Indiana University.

Gainsford recently made his fourth trip to Carnegie Hall performing as a soloist. He also played the venerable concert hall in 2009 as a founding member of the chamber group Trio Solis. The group's debut recording, "Diamonds in a Haystack," was selected as a Critic's Choice in American Record Guide.

Tickets are available online, or by phone, 229-391-4895.


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