Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Massey classroom dedicated during UGA Poultry Science Building unveiling

By David B. Strickland Poultry Times editor

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ATHENS, Ga. — An incredibly special individual known to many, particularly in the poultry industry, was honored with a classroom dedicated to him in the new University of Georgia Poultry Science Building.

That person is none other than Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Georgia Poultry Federation.

At the recent building dedication and ribbon cutting, UGA President Jere W. Morehead made the surprise announcement of this special addition to those in attendance.

“One of our guests in the audience today is an individual known by many people in Georgia as the ‘dean of the poultry industry,’ Mr. Abit Massey,” Morehead said. “Since graduating from UGA in 1949, Abit has become one of the institution’s most accomplished alumni and one of its most loyal supporters.”

Massey has many noted accomplishments with the university, and as Morehead continued, “In his capacity as executive director and president of the Georgia Poultry Federation from 1960 to 2008, and as president emeritus since 2009, he has played a central role in UGA’s relationship with the poultry industry and has served as a tireless advocate for both entities. Among his many contributions, he assisted the university in working with congress to obtain funds for the renovations and upgrade to the Southeastern Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens. He recommended funding for veterinary medicine experiments and led a coalition to build new comprehensive animal, livestock and poultry facilities at UGA. He spearheaded efforts to endow a faculty chair in poultry medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine and steered the effort to fund offices for poultry science Extension which has led to saving the historic Four Towers Building that was slated for demolition. He’s helped the Georgia Poultry Federation bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship support each year for UGA students pursuing degrees in poultry science. And with his own funds, he created a scholarship in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for students studying poultry science or avian biology. And of course, he was an instrumental leader of the Poultry Science Building steering committee.

“So, I am proud to announce today that a state-of-the-art classroom in the new Poultry Science Building has been named the Abit Massey Classroom in honor of Abit’s love for UGA and the many students he has mentored and supported over the years.”

UGA’s new Poultry Science Building is a more than 70,000 square foot research and instructional facility that students will begin to utilize beginning in January.

“At the ceremony, it was a very pleasant surprise to hear President Morehead mention the classroom and then very exciting to see it,” Massey said in response to this dedication honor. “With seats for 100, the modern, state-of-the-art classroom will serve our outstanding Poultry Science Department and great industry very well.”

“This beautiful, new, innovative, and useful Poultry Science Building is a dramatic step forward for Georgia and the poultry industry,” Massey added. “It will increase the effectiveness of teaching, research and Extension and develop more graduates for poultry careers. Already, it has become a campus landmark – and one word describes a UGA poultry alumnus: employed. We are grateful to the University of Georgia, the State of Georgia and the donors who made it possible.”

The Abit Massey Classroom is a very distinctive feature of this new, very distinctive building.

“We are thrilled to have the largest classroom in our new Poultry Science Building named after Abit Massey, an icon for our poultry sector who remains a dedicated supporter of UGA and Poultry Science to this day,” said Dr. Todd Applegate, UGA poultry science department head and R. Harold and Patsy Harrison Chair in Poultry Science. “Our hope is that future generations of students will continue to be inspired by Abit’s leadership. We are truly grateful to UGA President Morehead who provided a matching challenge and the private donors who contributed to make this space a reality.”

In addition to this special classroom, the Georgia Poultry Federation has sponsored an office space for graduate students.

Mike Giles, GPF president, said, “It is an honor for the Georgia Poultry Federation to be part of the industry support for the building, and it is particularly gratifying to know that the Federation’s contributions will be acknowledged inside the building as students, faculty and researchers work there to advance our industry in the decades to come.”

“We are very happy that the new Poultry Science Building has been completed on the campus of the University of Georgia,” Giles added. “We appreciate the leaders at the University of Georgia who led the effort, each of the donors who made the building possible, and (Georgia) Gov. Kemp and the Georgia legislature for their strong support of the project.”

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