South Georgia Tech 1976 alumnus returns to visit campus

Published 1:52 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

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From Staff Reports

AMERICUS – There were some similarities but Jimmy Bargeron was amazed at how much South Georgia Tech had changed since he was a student in the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program on the Americus campus in 1976.

“I recognize several buildings but this campus has really changed for the better since I was here in 1976, said Bargeron, who returned to the campus with his wife, Dee, recently for a tour.  Bargeron lives in Midway, Georgia, (30 miles south of Savannah) on the same land he grew up on.  This was his first trip back to South Georgia Tech.

After graduation, Bargeron returned to Midway and went to work for a local telephone company, Coastal Communications.  Over the years, the company was bought and sold but he remained.  Three weeks shy of working for 41-years in that industry, Bargeron retired from CenturyLink, which is owned by Lumen Technologies.  Lumen Technologies, Inc. is an American telecommunications company headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana.  The company offers communications, network services, security cloud solutions, voice and managed services.

“A lot changed during those 41-years,” said Bargeron.  “But the basic skills I learned at South Georgia Tech kept me employed.  My instructor Jerry Rolison helped me and the other students develop critical thinking and problems solving skills.”  Those skills were crucial in a career that saw many technological advances over the next four decades.

When he began, the phone company was still using things like rotary dial phones, pay phones, and party lines.   Equal access (choosing long distance service) and local number portability are relatively new, as are custom calling features such as call waiting, call forwarding, three-way calling.  Telephones could only come from the phone company until the 1980’s and telephone lines were very noisy before the equipment was changed from analog to digital.

Bargeron brought his 1976 yearbook on the visit and had a chance to compare the college landscape photos from his annual with an aerial photo of the campus today.  He and his wife met with South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford in his conference room in the John M. Pope Center, a building built nearly 25 years after Bargeron graduated.  They also toured the campus.

He pointed out the building where he took his classes (Griffin Building) and then located the dormitory (Martin Hall) and the cafeteria.  “Dean (Harrold) Moore was over the students and lived in our dorm.  He ran a very tight ship.  He also gave students tennis lessons after class.  I had a lot of good times here.”

Bargeron came to South Georgia Tech after a friend of his came to school here and liked it.  He lived in the dorms for a while but then moved off campus. He still remembered the good times that he and the other students had working and learning together and the impact that his instructors had on him and others.

“This was a good school and I am thankful I came here,” said Bargeron.  “I think these types of skills and critical thinking are needed more than ever today.”  Bargeron was able to expand his knowledge and skills when his company sent him to training classes in Raleigh, NC, Richardson, TX, and Rochester, NY.

Since he has some knowledge of electricity, he said that he feels somewhat insulted when he sees an appliance that has “no user serviceable parts” on it.  “If it does not work, it cannot be broken,” said Bargeron.  “So I take the appliance apart and do an autopsy to see if I can’t fix it.  I cut a drive belt out of an inner tube to fix a CD changer once,” he said laughingly.

He and his wife raised two children, James “Jay” Bargeron, III, who is an Electrical Engineer with Lockheed Martin in the aerospace division in Denver, Colorado, and a daughter, Ruth Anne who lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter.  Their son got his masters degree in electrical engineering from Mercer University in Georgia and worked on his doctorate at U.C. at Boulder.

South Georgia Technical College is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023. The educational institution was one of the first technical colleges in Georgia and has been providing quality technical education for the workforce since 1948.  Thousands of students have graduated and been able to provide for themselves and their families with the training they received here.

If you are an alumnus of South Georgia Technical College and would like to come back for a visit during the 75th anniversary celebration, please contact Su Ann Bird, Vice President of Intuitional Advancement at