ABAC to honor Tom Cordell and Ford Spinks at Georgia Museum of Agriculture

July 27, 2021

TIFTON — Two icons in the city of Tifton’s history will be honored on July 23 at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

The Tom M. Cordell Conference Center and the Ford B. Spinks Exhibit Hall both will be dedicated in the 3 p.m. ceremony at the main exhibit hall in the Georgia Museum of Agriculture. ABAC President David Bridges said the recognition for Cordell and Spinks is well-deserved.

“Both of these men had a tremendous impact not only on Tifton and south Georgia, but on the entire state of Georgia,” Bridges said. “Honoring them in this way is a tribute to the impression they made while they were serving the citizens of this great state.”

The Tom M. Cordell Conference Center honors the longtime dean and coordinator of continuing education at ABAC. Recognized as the “Man of the Year” by Progressive Farmer magazine in 1971, Cordell received the Georgia Adult Education Council Citation in 1972.

During his 39-year career at ABAC, Cordell created ABAC’s famous agricultural short course program that helped to educate thousands of Georgians, including President Jimmy Carter when he was a peanut farmer in Plains.

Before he retired in 1979, Cordell served as acting president of ABAC on five different occasions. The ABAC Foundation created the Tom M. Cordell Distinguished Lecture Series in his honor in 1985. Cordell passed away in 1991.

The Ford B. Spinks Exhibit Hall recognizes an ABAC alumnus who was a key influencer in the establishment of the Georgia Agrirama in Tifton in 1976 and a strong supporter of the State Museum of Agriculture when it became a part of ABAC in 2010.

A World War II veteran, Spinks served in the Georgia State Senate from 1962 until 1971. He also served on the Georgia Public Service Commission from 1971 until 1989.

An active member of the community, Spinks owned and operated Tifton Tractor Company, was a director at South Georgia Banking Company, and was the chairman of the Coastal Plain Area Tourism Council. In 2000, he was named to the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce Wall of Fame. He passed away in 2016.