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Friends, not 'deep pockets,' bring Rhodes honor

By for CAES News
"Usually to have something like this named after you, well, you have to have deep pockets," Rhodes said. "I don't have deep pockets, but I have lots of friends. Thank you, friends."

In making sure the center for animal and dairy science was built, Rhodes said he was just looking out for the community and the university that had taken care of him for so many years. He was a 1938 graduate of the UGA agriculture school, now the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

'The task I was assigned'

"There was just no other place for agriculture to be," Rhodes said about the complex. "(Governor) Joe Frank Harris told me he was appointing me (to the board of regents) to watch out for agriculture. That was the task I was assigned, and that's what I've tried to do with this building and with everything else."

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives Tom Murphy said that during the five years Rhodes was raising funds and making plans for the center, it was hard to escape his watchful eye.

The 'moving force'

"He was the moving force behind this building, and he wouldn't let it drop, " Murphy said. "He just wouldn't stop bothering me and governor about it. Eventually, I knew I had to do something about it because if I didn't, next year he'd run against me and beat me."

The 135,000-square-foot complex houses research laboratories, classrooms and extension offices as well as a meat-packing plant, retail space and facilities for housing animals.

The complex was completed in 1998. It wasn't given its official name, though, until this year, when the name was approved by the Georgia House of Representatives.

'The right person'

University of Georgia President Michael Adams said the rededication was important to show appreciation for all Rhodes has done for his alma mater and the state.

"This building is going to be an anchor for agricultural research at the university, and we needed to show Mr. Rhodes how much we appreciate all his work on it," Adams said. "This is the right facility, it's based on the right principles and it's certainly honoring the right person."

Merritt Melancon is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.