TIFTON — Paul Willis, the executive vice president for finance and administration, has been selected as the 2020 Honorary Alumnus recipient by the ABAC Alumni Association at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
This honor is normally presented at the Alumni Awards Luncheon at homecoming in April, but the luncheon was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event will be rescheduled, possibly during the fall term.
ABAC Alumni Director Lynda Fisher said Honorary Alumnus status recognizes individuals who did not attend the college but who have impacted ABAC in significant ways.
Willis joined the ABAC administration in 2009 as the director of college enrichment. He then served as the director of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at ABAC from 2010 until May 31, 2012. On June 1, 2012, he was named vice president for external affairs and chief of staff. Since July 1, 2014, Willis has served in his current role.
In 2014, Willis was recognized by the ABAC faculty and staff as the recipient of the E. Lanier Carson Leadership Award for College Administrators. He was instrumental in bringing Greek life to the campus, particularly the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
Willis was also charged with the task of assimilating the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village into the ABAC campus in 2010. Under his direction, the museum expanded with three new historic buildings and increased the number of special events, workshops, and special exhibits in the museum’s gallery.
During his time as vice president for external affairs, Willis completed structural changes within the ABAC Foundation and the ABAC Alumni Association, expanded homecoming activities, helped to increase overall giving to ABAC, and led the strategic planning process for the college. A strong supporter of the ABAC Alumni Association, Willis and his wife, Shari, sponsor an annual FFA Leadership Scholarship.
Majoring in food and resource economics (agribusiness), Willis earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. After graduation, he had a 26-year administrative career at the University of Florida, where his duties included service as the executive assistant to the senior vice president for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, director of operations for the Food and Resource Economics Department, and director of student and alumni services and executive director of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni and Friends organization.
At the University of Florida, Willis was named the 2008 Greek Advisor of the Year. He received the Founders’ Distinguished Service Award from the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association in 2008. He also served as president of the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association from 2004-06 and was on the board of directors from 2000-08.