The Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners recently recognized former commissioner Dr. Anthony Viegbesie for his years of service in Gadsden County.
Viegbesie was joined by his wife Dr. Diane Wynn-Viegbesie as he was honored during the January 5 meeting.
Elected to the board in November 2014, Viegbesie represented District 2 which includes parts of Quincy as well as parts of Havana.
Viegbesie said before moving to Gadsden County, he told God wherever he purchased his next house he would make his home for good.
The former commissioner served as the board’s chairman in 2019, 2020 and he was also serving as chair in 2022 when he retired.
While serving on the board, Viegbesie was also a full-time professor.
He was a professor of economics and public administration at Tallahassee Community College from 1985 until his retirement in 2022, and was an adjunct professor of agricultural sciences, economics and public administration at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University from 1984 to 2014.
As a professor at a public college, Viegbesie enrolled in the Florida Retirement System’s Deferred Retirement Option Program.
Since Viegbesie was set to retire from his full-time job where he would receive Florida Retirement System benefits, by law, he was also required to resign from his seat on the board because he was a Gadsden County government employee, and the county government is also under the Florida Retirement System.
Additionally, the Florida Retirement System requires that anyone receiving benefits wait at least six months after retiring before taking a new job in the Florida Retirement System.
Viegbesie, who was up for re-election last November, ended his campaign and resigned from his seat in June.
Viegbesie, affectionately called “Dr. V” to those he served, is a first generation American who immigrated to the United States in 1978, at a very young age from his native country of Nigeria, with practically nothing.
Long before becoming a public servant, he first found employment as a migrant farm worker in South Georgia picking tomatoes and cucumbers.
Viegbesie said it was nothing but God that got him to where he is today.
“So, I say thank you Lord for giving me the opportunity – a chance to have served your children here on earth,” Viegbesie expressed.
While on the board Viegbesie was a 2020 graduate of the National Association of High-Performance Leadership Master Certificate as well as the Florida Association of Counties Advanced Commissioner Certification Programs.
Viegbesie said he grew up in poor and humble beginnings, and understands the value of self-discipline, dedication, and hard work.
He obtained an Associate of Science degree in agriculture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, a Master of Science in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky, and a Doctor of Philosophy in public administration from Florida State University.
He is currently working on his Juris Doctor degree in Law at William Howard Taft University Law School.
A member of the 1997 Class XIV of the Tallahassee Leadership Program, Viegbesie was also a past president of the Tallahassee Branch of the NAACP as well as a first vice-president of the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches.
Viegbesie, a lifelong member of Kappa Alpha Si Fraternity, is also a Master Mason in the Prince Hall Affiliate Freemasonry (J.R.E. Lee Sr Lodge #422).
He has a long list of accomplishments, which includes authoring a book titled Our Faults: Conversations on the State of Affairs in Modern Black America.
Aside from having a successful career, Viegbesie is also a family man.
He and his wife have six children.
Although he is working on his law degree, Viegbesie said he is enjoying retirement and waiting to see what direction God will lead him in next.
While he is not native to the county he has served for many years, he still holds it near and dear to his heart.
“If you believe like I’ve always believed, the best is yet to come to Gadsden County,” Viegbesie said. “May God continue to bless Gadsden County.”
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service