Moultrie Observer

Around the Region

February 27, 2013

ABAC Alumni to honor Sonya Aldridge

TIFTON — The marketing director for Colquitt Electric Membership Corporation is among nine individuals and a family that will be honored this weekend by Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Sonya Dale Martin Aldridge of Pavo, who has been very active in charitable groups in Colquitt County, is set to receive the Helen Brown Sasser Award from the ABAC Alumni Association at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.

The event is part of the Celebrate ABAC Alumni weekend.

The brunch ceremony at the museum recognizes ABAC alumni who impacted the college and their communities in significant ways. Advance tickets are $25 per person. There will be no tickets sold at the event. Tickets can be purchased from the ABAC College Advancement Office at (229) 391-4895. For more information on the Celebrate ABAC weekend, interested persons can visit the website at www.abac.edu/celebrate.

In addition to Aldridge, ABAC Alumni Association award winners this year include C. L. Morehead Jr., of Athens, Distinguished Alumnus; Catrina Kennedy Pollard from Waynesboro, Outstanding Young Alumnus; Elzie Argene Claxton of Perry, J. Lamar Branch Award; Ann Graham from Tifton, Outstanding Educator; Jeff Sinyard from Albany, Outstanding Business Leader; Patricia Barber from Tifton, Outstanding Health Care; Greg Crumley from Tifton, Master Farmer; and Jeff Gibbs from Tifton, Honorary Alumnus. The Grady and Mary Ann Medford Family from Eldorado will also receive the Family Legacy Award.

Morehead, a native of nearby Irwinville, attended ABAC from 1946-48. He continued his education at the University of Georgia (UGA) and earned a bachelor of science degree in horticulture in 1950. After graduation, he remained in Athens and taught horticulture classes at the university and took a job at a flower shop. In 1959, he opened his own wholesale-retail greenhouse business, Flowers, Inc.  He is currently president of CLM, Inc. – Flowers Inc., Retail and Wholesale.

Morehead, an entrepreneur and avid art collector, has loaned ABAC’s Gallery at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture several featured exhibits including his carving collection and his paintings by well-known Georgia artist Lamar Dodd.  

His professional memberships include the Board of Trustees at UGA, the Board of Advisors at the Georgia Museum of Art, the Board of Advisors at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia, and UGA’s Heritage Society.  He received the 2010 Regents’ Hall of Fame Award from the University System of Georgia Foundation and the 1999 Blue Key Service Award from UGA.  He has also been recognized as a member of the prestigious Crystal Arch Society at UGA.  

Aldridge is a 1982 graduate of ABAC, majoring in home economics.   She furthered her education at UGA, earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in home economics.  She and her husband, Dale, built and decorated a home on their family farm that was named a Georgia Centennial Farm in 2012.   She is the Manager of Marketing and Member Services with Colquitt Electrical Membership Corporation, serving eight counties in south Georgia.

Aldridge’s community involvement has included the Kiwanis Club, where she served as president, president-elect, and vice president.  She has also been active as a member of Family Connection, the Colquitt Certified Literate Community Committee, and chaired other committees that serve children and families.  She is also a member of the Georgia Association of Family and Consumer Science and contributes her time to charitable causes including the United Way Campaign and Relay for Life.   She is a member of the Pavo United Methodist Church where she has been the administrative board chair and church treasurer.   

Pollard received her associate degree in agriculture from ABAC in 2005. While at ABAC, she served as both president and treasurer of the Student Government Association, president and secretary of the Inter-Activities Council, historian for the Agricultural Engineering Technology Club, and was a member of the Georgia Association of Educators Student Program, FFA, and a contributor to the college’s literary magazine, Pegasus. She also was the recipient of a 2004 Pacesetter.

Pollard received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and her master’s degree in agricultural leadership from UGA and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and teaching in agriscience education from Auburn University.  Since 2007, she has taught at Burke County High School in agricultural education.  Professional accolades include the 2009 and 2010 Central Region FFA Big Owl recipient, 2010 Burke County High School Teacher of the Year, and the 30-Minute Award in 2010 from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (GVATA).

Claxton attended ABAC from 1976-78.  Focusing on education and agriculture, he received his bachelor’s degree in 1980, his master’s degree in 1982, and his specialist degree in 1984 from UGA.  In 2005, he also received a doctorate of educational leadership from Argosy University.  He began teaching at Perry High School in 1980.  Thirty-three years later, he teaches agricultural education and has developed a top quality FFA program at the school, advising seven FFA national award-winning teams.

He was inducted into the Georgia Agriculture Education Hall of Fame in 2007.  He is the youngest member to be inducted, the only member still teaching, and is part of the only father and son inductees.  Claxton’s father, B. H. Claxton, was a charter member. He has also received Teacher of the Year at Perry High School twice, received the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Award of Excellence in 2006, and won The Big Owl Award four times from the GVATA.    

Graham received her associate’s degree in biology from ABAC in 1973.  She then attained a bachelor’s degree in education with a focus on biological sciences from UGA in 1976 and continued with a graduate study in mathematics in 1990 from Troy State University.   She has her North Carolina Teacher License in mathematics (grades 6-12), science (grades 6-12), biological sciences (grades 9-12) and the Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program  for grades K-12 that she added in 1998 and 1999.

From 1999 to 2011, Graham served as the District Director of Accountability Services for the Davie County (N.C.) Schools.  Her professional memberships include the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, and the North Carolina Association of Research in Education. She retired from the Davie County School System in 2011and moved back to Tifton with her husband, Larry.  She and her husband are “life members” of the ABAC Alumni Association.  Both of her brothers, her son, and her daughter-in-law are also ABAC alumni.  While at ABAC, she was a finance manager of the yearbook staff.  Her community activities include service as the campaign chairperson for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center in 1985 and 1986.  

Sinyard attended ABAC from 1973-1975, where he received his associate’s degree in business administration.  He continued his education at Georgia Southwestern University, earning his bachelor’s degree in marketing.   He worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance from 1977-1988 and First State Bank and Trust from 1988-1994 before becoming the owner of Adams Exterminators in 1994.  He is a member of the Georgia Pest Control Association, where he served as chairman in 2001-2002 and president in 2000-2001.  He was also awarded the organization’s Pioneer Award.

Sinyard has been the Chairman of the Dougherty County Commission since 1993.  He served as a Dougherty County commissioner from 1985-1988. He has also served as chairman of the Dougherty Area Transportation System and the Payroll Development Authority; board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Albany Chamber of Commerce; a Darton College and Leadership Georgia trustee; and a member of the Georgia Military Affairs Committee and the Albany Rotary Club.  His charitable contributions include the American Heart Association as chairman from 1992-1995, The Anchorage, and various youth sports teams.  

Barber attended ABAC from 1974-1976 where she attained her associate’s degree in nursing.  She furthered her education and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1976 from Georgia Southwestern College, her master’s degree in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia in 1980, and took post master’s courses in mental health nursing in 2005. Currently, she is an associate professor of nursing at ABAC and serves as the college’s curriculum coordinator for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.  She also served as the advisor to ABAC’s chapter of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students (GANS) from 1984-2006, was the School of Nursing and Health Sciences representative to the Faculty Senate from 1995-2011, and assists with Stallion Day.

Professionally, she is a member of the National League of Nursing and was nominated by the School of Nursing and Health Sciences for the Donaldson Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence at ABAC.  Her charitable contributions include support of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.  

Crumley attained three associate degrees in agribusiness technology, agriscience, and agriculture at ABAC from 1977-80.  He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from UGA in 1982.  He also earned his MBA in finance and accounting and his MPA in personal management from Valdosta State University in 1984.  The Tift County native is the owner and operator of Cypress Creek Plantation and Early Bird Farm, as well as founder and president of Crumley and Associates Real Estate Appraisal and Consulting.

In 1996 Crumley received the award for Outstanding Stewardship Forest in Tift County.  He was named Soil and Water Conservationist of the Year in 2001.  His community involvement includes his activities as a member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher with First Baptist Church in Ty Ty since 1982; serving as chairman and board member of the Department of Children and Family Services since 1991; and his membership with Gideon’s International since 1989.  In the past he has also served as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Tifton, a volunteer with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, a board member with Brother Charlie’s Rescue Mission and the Tiftarea Habitat for Humanity.  He joined the ABAC President’s Club in 2002.

Gibbs was a member of the ABAC faculty and administration for 21 years before he retired as Dean of the School of Business in 2012.  Overall, he has 36 years of experience in business education.   Gibbs received his B.B.A. in economics in 1975, his M.B.A. in economics in 1976, and his Ed. D. in business education in 1985, all from UGA.

Before coming to ABAC in 1991, Gibbs was an instructor at Macon College from 1976-80; served as director of the Central Georgia Small Business Development Center through the University System of Georgia (USG) from 1980-83; was the associate director of the Business Information Center at the Small Business Development Center through the USG from 1984-86; and served as state director for the Alabama Small Business Development Consortium at the University of Alabama from 1986-91.

While at ABAC, Gibbs received the 2009 E. Lanier Carson Leadership Award for administrators, a “Pacesetter” award from the student newspaper, The Stallion, and prepared the annual economic impact study of the college. He also served as advisor for various campus organizations and was extensively involved in the development of the ABAC Rural Studies program.    

The Grady and Mary Ann Medford Family wanted the best for their children including sending them to college. Their second son, H. C. Medford, felt the need to help out with the family farm so he went back to Eldorado, south of Tifton, and attended ABAC as a day student in 1937-1938 when classes were held in Tift Hall, which is a part of the rededication ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on March 1.

In addition to H.C. Medford’s three daughters, three more grandchildren of Grady and Mary Ann Medford attended ABAC. Five great grandchildren also chose ABAC for their college work.

Currently Medford McDonald, a great grandchild, is a freshman majoring in agricultural business, making a total of 12 family members over three generations associated with ABAC.  Four members of the Medford family married spouses who were also ABAC alumni. Including spouses, the family total is 16 with an ABAC connection.

 Members of the family have served in their respective churches and in civic organizations.  They have supported ABAC by speaking highly of the education they received and recommending the college to others. They have also given to the annual fund and other financial contributions to ABAC. H. C. Medford uniquely supported ABAC by employing students at his farm for several years. Lynn Medford McDonald has been on the Alumni Board for over 10 years.         

 

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