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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
Alumni Association
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December 2016 E-Alum Report

Happy Holidays!

from the College of ACES Alumni Association!

It has been an exciting year and we are glad you were an important part of it!  We have a lot to be thankful for as we approach 2017.

The College of ACES Alumni Association celebrated our 60th anniversary this year!  We are the oldest alumni association on the University of Illinois campus with our heritage roots of the Ag Alumni Association and the Home Ec Alumni Association providing a solid base for the ACES Alumni Association today!

Many of you have been actively involved with our ACES in Places events, ACES Family Academies, awards programs, serving in a volunteer leadership role or sharing your Illini spirit with others. 

We are grateful for your support of your alma mater and join us as we celebrate our past, present and future of the College of ACES Alumni Association.

With Illini pride - Happy Holidays from our college home to yours!!

~ ACES Alumni Association

Welcome Dean Kim Kidwell

The College of ACES welcomed Dean Kimberlee Kidwell on November 1, 2016. 

Dean Kimberlee Kidwell, a nationally respected scholar of plant breeding and genetics, holds the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair in the College of ACES at the University of Illinois. Not only is she an award-winning teacher and student mentor, but she is also an outstanding academic administrator with extensive experience in academic program development, financial management, and engagement.

Dean Kidwell’s leadership style is clearly defined by her dedication to improving student learning; driving sound, innovative research; and cultivating industry partnerships to improve the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Illinois, in support of the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois.

In her previous role as executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources at Washington State University, Dean Kidwell spearheaded the development of the new Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership, a student, faculty, alumni, and industry partner collaboration which provides beyond-the-classroom experiences for students and leadership development for graduate students and professionals. She excels in the classroom where she has developed and taught national award-winning courses focusing on human behavior while cultivating communication and leadership skills.

In addition, Dean Kidwell is an accomplished spring wheat breeder and geneticist, developing more than 20 wheat varieties for Washington State farmers. Her research has led to two patented discoveries, and addressed basic questions involving gene discovery, genetic characterization, and genetic mapping of important traits for wheat improvement.

Dean Kidwell has been recognized with numerous honors and awards for her hard work in research, teaching, and leadership. Most recently, she was named a Crop Science Society of America Fellow. She grew up in Danville, Illinois, and is a proud alumna of ACES where she earned bachelor’s degrees in both genetics and development and agriculture science. She received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You can follow Dean Kidwell on Twitter at @ACESDeanKidwell

ACES Award of Merit Winners Announced

The College of ACES Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 2017 ACES Award of Merit winners.

The 2017 ACES Award of Merit Winners include:

  • Leon C. Corzine – B.S. ’72 Ag Mechanization of Assumption, IL.  President of LPC Farms, Inc.
  • Robert A. Easter – Ph.D. ’76 Animal Sciences of Mahomet, Illinois; President Emeritus University of Illinois & Emeritus Professor.
  • John P. McNamara – B.S. ’76 Ag Sciences, M.S. ’78 Dairy Science of Pullman, WA. Emeritus Professor at Washington State University and Consultant for McNamara Research in Agriculture Firm.
  • Keith D. Parr – B.S. ’78 Ag Sciences of Elmhurst, Illinois; partner in Locke Lord, LLP.
  • Robert J. Wyffels – B.S. 77 Crop Science of Geneseo, IL; co-owner, vice president of production at Wyffels Hybrids.

Registration to open January 20, 2017.

Thank You to Bill Francis

Thank you to Bill Francis for his leadership as the outgoing President of the ACES Alumni Association Board of Directors. While he and his family have had a long tradition of Illini Pride, Bill's leadership to the association and college were outstanding. Bill assisted with planning a multitude of successful ACES in Places events, helped to spearhead the new ACES Family Academies program, continue outreach to our ACES Round Barn Society, served as an advocate for the college and university....just to name a few.   Bill served the ACES Alumni Association for ten years beginning his first year in 2007 serving as the District 4 Director, Vice President, and President.  He has truly been an advocate for the College of ACES and University of Illinois and has showed his Illini pride in all he does to engage our alumni.

Thank you Bill!

Congratulations ACES December Graduates

Congratulations to our December ACES Graduates!  A wonderful evening at Krannert Center on Friday, December 16 to greet and welcome you to the College of ACES Alumni Association family and receive your alumni t-shirt on behalf of the ACES Alumni Association!  We look forward to staying connected to you and seeing the impact you make on the world!

Stay Connected to Us!

Congratulations to the new ACES Alumni Exec Board

Congratulations to the newest ACES Alumni Executive Board for the ACES Alumni Association.

  • President: Sue Gray, B.S. 80, M.S. 90 from Geneseo, IL
  • Vice President: Kirk Builta, B.S. '07 from Mahomet, IL
  • Secretary:  Randy DeSutter, B.S. '79 from Woodhull, IL
  • Treasurer:  Alan Puzey, B.S. 74 of Fairmount, IL
  • Past President:  Bill Francis, B.S. 71 JD '74 from Wilmington, IL

Thank You to Outgoing Board Members

Thank you to these four outstanding alumni who have represented their respective area on the ACES Alumni Board of Directors and have completed their terms in December.

  • Dawn Bohn - Dawn joined the ACES Alumni Board of Directors in 2007 and served as the Food Science and Human Nutrition Vocational Director, Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Jim Testin - Jim joined the ACES Alumni Board of Directors in 2010. He has served as the NRES Vocational Director for the past 6 years.
  • Amy Leman - Amy joined the ACES Alumni Board of Directors in 2010. She has served as the Human Development and Family Studies Vocational Director for the past six years.
  • Kenny Eathington - Kenny began his role on the ACES Alumni Board in 2004 serving as District 3 Director, Vice President, President and Past President.

Welcome New ACES Alumni Board Members

The College of ACES Alumni Board of Directors is happy to welcome its new members:

  • Agricultural Education Vocational Director – Tim McDermott, B.S. ’04 from Waterloo, IL.
  • NRES Vocational Director – Jennifer Walling, B.S. ’03, M.S. ’06, J.D. ’06 from Chicago, IL
  • HDFS Vocational Director – Alison Leipsiger, B.S.’07 from Chicago, IL
  • Young Alumni Director – Jacob Prather, B.S. ’12 from Mahomet, IL
  • District 6 Director – Raquel Lacey Nelson, B.S. ’07 from Champaign, IL


Big Ten Ag Alumni Recepiton in Washington DC

In the spirit of institutional cooperation, the Big Ten schools with agricultural programs are once again gathering our alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C. area for a special event at the National Press Club on Monday, March 6, 2017. Now in its seventh year, the reception has been a great success with alumni and friends networking across institutions and enjoying one another's company. We look forward to seeing everyone again (and some new faces)!

Please join us at the National Press Club for heavy hors d'oeuvres and beverages (open bar) and enjoy the fellowship of alumni and friends from the colleges of agricultural sciences and natural resources representing Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, University of Illinois, University of Maryland, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, and the University of Wisconsin.  Reconnect with college deans, administrators, faculty and staff from your alma mater. Learn how our colleges are working cooperatively on behalf of land-grant institutions.

Registration fee: $20 per person

Date: March 6, 2017

Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20045

Registration will open in January 2017.  Watch for more information to come.


Save the Date for two upcoming ACES in Places events scheduled in 2017! 

May 1 - ACES in Places: Eckert's Orchard, Belleville, IL - This will also be an opportunity to meet Dean Kim Kidwell.

June 6 - ACES in Places:  Lawfer Dairy, Kent, IL

Watch for more information to come!  We look forward to seeing you in 2017!

ACES Family Academies Summer 2017

ACES Family Academies

Returning by popular demand, ACES Family Academies will be hosted for the third time by the College of ACES Alumni Association, this summer on July 13 and 14. Youth ages 8 to 13 years old are invited to attend with an ACES alum returning to campus to experience educational sessions, stay in the Bousfield dorm, and share Illini experiences with the next generation. Watch the ACES Alumni website for registration announcements. We look forward to another outstanding year!

$60 for 60 Years

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the College of ACES Alumni Association we reflect on the storied history of our ACES Family. The traditions we’ve shared over the past 60 years have allowed us to impact student success, recognize alumni achievement, and provide timely programming for our alumni and friends of the College of ACES.

Today, we are proud of each and every one of our 37,204 alumni living across Illinois, throughout the US, and in every corner of the world.

We’re proud to have awarded over 380 members of our family with Young Alumni Recognitions, Family Spirit Awards and the Award of Merit – the highest award our college can bestow. 

Each and every day, we are honored to connect with, and serve, our alumni; and share in our Orange and Blue ACES pride!

Learn more about the $60 for 60 campaign.

Save the Date for Explore ACES

Looking to bring a prospective student to campus? Know someone that would be interested in studying at ACES? Mark March 10-11, 2017 for Explore ACES to be held on campus. More information to be announced soon! Watch the ExplorACES website for more info!

Three ACES Students on this Year's Homecoming Court

Congratulations to the three College of ACES students representing the College of ACES on this year's Homecoming Court! 
Abby Marten - Ag Leadership Education, Effingham, IL
Caitlin McClure - Ag Communications - Lawrenceville, IL 
Nikou Pishevaresfahani- Ag and Biological Engineering, Carol Stream, IL.

Read the original article here. 



Upcoming Events

March 6, 2017                Big Ten Ag Alumni Event, Washington, DC

March 10-11, 2017         Explore ACES

March 15, 2017              Welcome Reception for Dean Kim Kidwell, Chicago Illini Center

March/April, 2017           ACES Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

March 18-26, 2017         U of I Spring Break

April 17, 2017                Award of Merit Luncheon & Funk Banquet

May 1, 2017                  ACES in Places, Eckerts, Belleville, IL

May 4, 2017                  SAC Professional Development Trip

May 14, 2017                ACES Commencement /Tassel Turn, Colonnades Club 11:30 – 2:30 p.m.

May 15, 2017                Young Alumni & Family Spirit Nominations Due

May 15, 2017                ACES Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

June 6, 2017                 ACES in Places: Lawfers Dairy, Kent, IL

July 13–14, 2017           ACES Family Academies

August 29-31, 2017        Farm Progress Show, Decatur, IL

September 8, 2017         ACES College Connection – tentative

September 9, 2017        Salute to Ag Day

For more event announcements, including regional alumni events, visit All events are on campus unless specified.

Update Your Email Address

Do you have an updated email address on file? Do you have an email you prefer to receive correspondence too? Did your email address recently change?

We want to stay connected to you!

All invitations to events and college updates will be sent via email only. Please update your email address to stay connected today!

With the rising cost of postal mail, email communication is a cost effective way for the ACES Alumni Association to stay connected and provide updates, event announcements and invitations to you as our alumni. Please feel free to share your email address with us by sending it to

Stay Connected on Social Media

Online social networking is a great tool to stay in touch with alumni and friends from the College of ACES! We want to stay connected to you!  We post regular updates about activities, alumni profiles, on campus happenings, etc!  Stay connected with us!

Share your Class Notes

Check out Class Notes online -

Be sure to share any special times in your life with the ACES Alumni Association to keep your fellow alumni updated! Newly married? New job? Promotion? New book? New baby? We hope to hear from you.

Share your Illinois story for the UI Sesquicentennial

Do you have a favorite University of Illinois memory to share at the UI Sesquicentennial celebration? As the University of Illinois Alumni Association creates a Welcome Center for 2017, the Student Life and Culture Archives is collecting and cataloging objects and images that capture the essence and diversity of your Alma Mater experience.

Looking for an Illini Network?

Looking for an Illini Network? Join the University of Illinois Network! Stay up to date with the University of Illinois activities, events near you or join a local Illini Club!
The Illini opportunities await you! Get involved!

Join the 4-H Alumni Association

Were you a member of 4-H?  The University of Illinois Extension, Illinois 4-H, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation invite you to join the newly formed Illinois 4-H Alumni Association. A free life-time membership is available online @ We hope your 4-H memories bring a smile to your face. We're creating memories daily with today's 4-H members.