BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) - The last graduating class of Bainbridge State College walked across stage and accepted their diplomas.
Merging with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will bring new opportunities to South Georgia students.
On Thursday night, 155 South Georgia students were a part of the last Bainbridge State College graduation.
In January, Bainbridge State college merged with and is now a part of Abraham Baldwin agricultural college.
"The world is always changing and the college is changing," said Emma Brown, a Bainbridge State College graduate. "So, I just think it's a way to grow our community and maybe bring more bachelors degrees here. I think it's an exciting thing."
Dr. Michael Kirkland, the executive director of ABAC Bainbridge, says "The University System of Georgia wanted to be more efficient with the taxpayers dollars and expand access to education ... that's what led to the consolidation.
The merger offers more classes to Georgia students. It also saves the taxpayers money.
The Bainbridge State College and ABAC consolidation is the 9th in Georgia since 2011.
Students that started classes before the merger will still receive their degrees from Brainbridge State College at Thursday's graduation.
By consolidating, there is only one set of administration jobs that need to be filled and paid for, saving money for Georgia taxpayers.
Dr. Kirkland says with the help of the merger Brainbridge State College went from offering one Bachelor's degree to several.
"We're already offering a Bachelor's of Business, but that will be complimented with ABACs business program with more courses and more tracks," he said. "We'll also offer a Bachelor's of Science and Nursing degree, which we didn't offer previously."
Those courses will be offered next fall and more classes will be phased in.
Kirkland says the merger brings new opportunities to the Georgia community. The hope is for more students to earn their degrees from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Bainbridge.
"I feel honored being part of the last graduating class of Bainbridge State College, so I think that's something I'll always be remembering," said Anthony Williams, a Bainbridge State College graduate.
That's something all the graduates will remember.