University of Georgia Extension joined with the university community and Georgians across the state this month to celebrate 100 years of community-centered information, education and service.
On May 15, UGA Extension celebrated its 100th anniversary with the opening of a multimedia museum exhibit in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries on the UGA campus in Athens. The exhibit highlights the impact the organization has had over the past century.
“When you look back on this legacy, the last 100 years, what resonates is the elimination of diseases, the development of new and innovative practices that made a difference for the people of Georgia and the ability to look to the future and get ahead of particular trends or particular initiatives and lead the way for others in the state,” UGA President Jere Morehead told the crowd at the exhibit’s opening.
“What I appreciate the most about Extension is not what it's done in the past, but what it’s doing now and what it will do in the future. Because without the kind of work that’s being done in Extension, we can be certain that we would not have the bright and vital future that we need for this state.”
UGA Extension, originally known as the UGA Cooperative Extension Service, was founded in May 1914 through the Smith-Lever Act, a federal law that established and funded a state-by-state national network of educators to bring university-based research and practical knowledge to the public.
Today, Extension in the state of Georgia is a cooperative effort by federal, state and local government partners administered by the university. UGA Extension has a presence in 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties. Georgia Extension agents provide all Georgians with knowledge and research that they can put to use immediately.
While communication methods have improved and research has become more complex, the mission of UGA Extension has endured for the last century, said Dean J. Scott Angle of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
“Our Extension agents are still out there, they still visit farms across the state of Georgia because you have to be there, you have to be on the ground to really understand what our farmers, our families and our youth are experiencing,” Angle told the crowd.
The centennial museum exhibit features personal anecdotes and a timeline of important events throughout the history of UGA Extension. It is open for public tours through the end of June and will travel throughout the state later this summer.
As part of the exhibit’s gala opening, Rep. Chuck Williams (R-Watkinsville) and Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) presented resolutions recognizing the centennial to Angle and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. The resolutions, passed by the Georgia General Assembly this past winter, recognize UGA Extension as a source of timely, research-based education and information that has helped to transform Georgia’s farms, families and communities over the last century.
“In the past 100 years, UGA Extension helped eradicate the boll weevil, introduce new food safety measures and promote land conservation.” said Beverly Sparks, associate dean of Extension. “Today we face a new list of pests, problems and challenges. But, we are confident our Extension experts and educators will meet them head on. We look forward to another century of service to Georgia.”
An expanded version of the exhibit is available online at 100years.extension.uga.edu. The dynamic website shares the history of UGA Extension through articles, pictures, videos, timelines and personal stories. The public can join in the celebration by visiting the site and sharing how Extension has touched their lives.
For more photos from the exhibit opening gala visit tinyurl.com/UGAExtensionCentParty.
For more information about UGA Extension, see extension.uga.edu or call 1-800-Ask-UGA1.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
UGA Extension celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, and past Extension directors gathered for an event on May 15. From left to right are College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Scott Angle, UGA Extension Director Beverly Sparks and past UGA Extension directors Mel Garber (2003-2006), Bobby Tyson (2001-2003), Wayne Jordan (1988-1996) and Tal Duvall (1977-1988).Download Image