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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
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E-Alum Report August 2016

ACES alumna Kimberlee Kidwell named ACES Dean

Kimberlee Kae Kidwell (B.S. '86 ACES) will serve as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences effective Nov. 1, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Currently the executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University – a diverse college with 15 reporting units ranging from apparel, merchandising, design and textiles to biological systems engineering – Kidwell is a nationally respected scholar of plant breeding and genetics. She served as the college’s acting dean in 2015-16.  

At Illinois, she also will hold the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair.

Read more

New Chancellor Named - Dr. Robert J. Jones

Robert J. Jones, president of the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), an experienced and accomplished scientist and research university leader, was named chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Tuesday, pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees at its July 21 meeting.

Jones has been at the helm of one of the SUNY system’s leading research universities since 2013. His tenure there followed a 34-year career at the University of Minnesota, a Big Ten land-grant institution where he began as a faculty agronomist and rose through a series of academic administrative appointments, serving as senior vice president for academic administration at the University of Minnesota System from 2004 to 2013.

A Georgia native, Jones, 65, earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a master’s degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He began his academic career as a faculty member at Minnesota and became an internationally respected authority on plant physiology. He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.

Read more in the news release

Learn more about the Chancellor-elect

Best Wishes to Dr. Laurie Kramer

Congratulations to Dr. Laurie Kramer as she retires from Illinois after 37 years of service and moves to a new appointment at Northeastern University as the new director of their campus Honors Program in June.

Dr. Kramer served as the Associate Dean of Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) since 2007. She holds professorship in both the Department of Human and Community Development, within the College of ACES, and the Department of Psychology, within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She was the founding Director of the Family Resiliency Center, holding the post from 2002 to 2007 and researching family relationships and coping with stress. Please join us in thanking Dr. Kramer for all she accomplished with the College of ACES and extending congratulations on her new role with Northeastern University. 

Welcome Dr. Prasanta Kalita as Associate Dean of Academic Programs

We are pleased to announce that Prasanta Kalita has been named the ACES Associate Dean for Academic Programs on July 1, 2016.

Prasanta has been a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering since 1999, and is the Leader of the Department’s Water Resources Engineering Section.  His three degrees in agricultural engineering are from Punjab Agricultural University (B.S.), Asian Institute of Technology (M.S.) and Iowa State University (Ph.D.).  After Iowa State, Prasanta spent two years at Washington State University and then five years at Kansas State University before coming to Urbana-Champaign. 

Dr. Kalita’s areas of research include water management and environmental sustainability, hydrology, watershed and water quality modeling, erosion and sediment control, and irrigation. He is widely recognized for his excellence in teaching and advising, has worked extensively in educational development and capacity building, and in food security issues around the world, including recent service as Director, ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss.  Prasanta has published more than 150 articles in journals and conferences and served as Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editor for three international journals.  His career is marked impressively by over 40 honors and awards recognizing teaching excellence, research excellence, and outstanding service, culminating with the Paul A. Funk Award and with Fellow, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.  All of his recognitions can be found at

The College is fortunate that Dr. Kalita has agreed to direct his seemingly unlimited energy, creativity and enthusiasm towards our academic programs.  Please join us in welcoming Prasanta into his new leadership role.


Best Wishes to Barry Dickerson

Barry Dickerson has become a widely-recognized corporate relations professional of the College of ACES, successfully securing gifts, grants and contracts since 1996.  Barry has recently accepted a new position with the College of Business as the Senior Director of Corporate Relations.  We will miss Barry but know he will have continued success in the future advancing corporate relations for the College of Business.  

Please join us in thanking Barry for his decades of commitment to the College of ACES. Best Wishes!

ACES College Connection

Celebrate 60 years with the College of ACES Alumni Association!

The ACES College Connection event will host a panel of alumni to celebrate our past and future of the ACES Alumni Association to celebrate this milestone year! We will celebrate the future of our association with recognition of outstanding ACES Alumni who have made a significant impact in their careers and their communities at the 2015 ACES College Connection.

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016

Where: Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, Chief Illiniwek Ballroom
1501 S. Neil Street, Champaign, IL

11:30 a.m. - Welcome
11:45 a.m. - Brunch & Entertainment
12:30 p.m. - Program

Cost: $25/per person


  • Celebrating the ACES Alumni Association through the Decades
  • Recognition of Past ACES Alumni Board Presidents & Board Members
  • Recognition of Round Barn Society Members
  • Recognition of Award Winners

Outstanding ACES Young Alumni
Katheryne Rehberg, B.S. '04 FSHN from Decatur, IL
Jennifer Westerkamp, B.S. '08 FSHN from Lombard, IL

ACES Family Spirit Award
The Kevin Lyons Family

Friend of ACES (sponsored by the College of ACES)
Russell Moroz, Vice President Research, Development and Quality for Merisant, Inc

  • Champagne Toast to 60 Years!

Register by Monday, August 29, 2016

2016 marks the 60th anniversary of the ACES Alumni Association! Help commemorate this anniversary and support ACES Alumni Association activities and programming with $60 for 60.  Watch for more information about this effort coming soon.

Salute to Agriculture Day - September 10

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) invites you to attend Salute to Agriculture Day at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Saturday, September 10. Prior to watching the Illini take on North Carolina, we invite you to enjoy a tailgate including a short program hosted by Orion Samuelson followed by an auction of meat packages provided by ACES Meat Sales Room.

Midwest Barbeque Buffet includes:

  • All-Beef Hamburgers
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Traditional Baked Beans with Bacon
  • Vinaigrette Cole Slaw
  • Assorted Cookies
  • Cash bar will be available

Game and meal tickets can be picked up through Friday, September 9 at the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, Suite 115, 1101 S. Goodwin Ave. Tickets can also be picked up at the tent prior to the start of the event.

Lot 31: On the tree line along Kirby Avenue directly to the west of the stadium

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Tailgate Meal Tickets:
Student - $10
Adult - $20

Football Game Tickets:
$19 (all tickets)

Questions: Please contact Kate Yeazel, Special Events at 217 244-1817 or

Register online:


ACES Family Academies Fun for All!

ACES Family Academies 2016
To view more photos, click on photo above

The College of ACES Alumni Association hosted the second ACES Family Academies program at the University of Illinois on July 7-8, 2016.  Over 120 alumni, youth and volunteers attended the event to be part of educational sessions, live in the dorms and eat in the dining halls!  Youth ages 8-13 years of age were comprised of children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews of our ACES alumni!  Sessions focused on topics such as students participating in their own Food Challenge, Robotics, Bird Netting, Drones in Agriculture, Magical Milk Lab, Companion Animals, Honeybees, Beef, Pigs, Africa Drums, Making your own videos....just to name a few! 

Thank you to all of the presenters and volunteers that made this event a success - from our faculty and staff presenters, students, alumni board members and alumni volunteers! 

Special thanks to our event sponsors, Farm Credit Illinois and 1st Farm Credit for their support and for their staff volunteering the evening of the Illini Fighting Hunger to make over 12,000 meals to be distributed across Illinois!

Many photos have been posted on social media.  Please visit the links below.


ACES Family Academies participants help fight hunger

Did you know that in Illinois alone, one in five Illinois children experience hunger every day; accounting for 23% of Illinois youth under the age of 18? ACES Family Academies participant families packaged 12,168 meals to distribute to their local food pantries as part of the ACES Family Academies program.  Over 56 boxes of meals were packaged and distributed across Illinois and made such impact on their local communities in Knox, Macon, Woodford, Calhoun, McLean, Winnebago, Kankakee, Saline, Champaign and Vermillion counties.

Thank you to Illinois 4-H, Farm Credit Illinois and the College of ACES Alumni Association for sponsoring this event!

Award of Merit Call for Nominations

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences alumni bring honor to themselves and their alma mater through many ways. The ACES Alumni Association celebrates alumni who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, or through outstanding leadership or service have significantly enhanced or improved the lives of others.  Each year the College of ACES Alumni Association honors three to five outstanding graduates of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. 

Awardees will be honored on Monday, April 17, 2017 as part of the ACES Alumni Award of Merit Alumni Recognition events and at the college’s FUNK Awards Banquet.

Nominations due October 15, 2016.  Nominations available for download on the ACES Alumni website.

Congratulations to ACES alumna, Tatyana McFadden

Sixth time's a charm! Illinois Wheelchair Athletics' marathoner Tatyana McFadden (B.S. '13 FSHN) won the ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.

In September, she will go for seven gold medals in 10 days at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She would be the first athlete to sweep every distance, from the 100 meters to the marathon, at the Paralympic Games.

Read more about her award.

ACES Alumnus to make Flight Around the World

University of Illinois alumnus and former University of Illinois Alumni Association Board member Dr. Bo Zhang is performing China’s first flight around the world in a propeller driven aircraft.

Dr. Zhang plans to arrive at Willard Airport in Savoy, Ill., on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. The UI Alumni Association & College of ACES Alumni Association will host a welcome reception at Willard Airport. There will be press availability at the Flightstar Building. The event will be co-sponsored by the UI Alumni Association and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

Dr. Zhang will depart from Beijing on Aug. 7 and fly approximately 25,000 miles by way of 11 countries on a route that includes the first-ever flight along the Silk Road—an ancient network of trade routes. He will fly over each line of longitude; the entire trip is expected to take 58 days, with Zhang making more than 30 stops along the way. The Chinese Embassy is organizing welcome activities in both Washington, D.C., and London.

Dr. Zhang received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2014, he also became the first student to earn a private pilot certificate from Parkland College in Champaign; he completed the program in 58 days, a record for the University of Illinois Aviation Institute.

If you would like to attend the Welcome Reception in Champaign, please register here.

Learn More

Agronomy Day - August 18

Join us on Thursday, August 18th for Agronomy Day! Discover the latest research, technology, and industry data from University of Illinois faculty and staff in the College of ACES. The event will be hosted in a new location: 4202 South First Street in Savoy, Illinois. In addition to a new location, we’ve made many improvements for participants including: disabled parking, shorter walking distances between tours, new faculty speakers, and a tour of SoyFACE. 

Field tours begin at 7 a.m. with presentations from researchers covering: nutrient management, drone demonstrations, farm economics, weed management, plant diseases, and more! Don’t miss new Illinois Athletic Director, Josh Whitman, speak during the noontime program! Lunch tickets are available for purchase ($8.00). For more information, visit the Agronomy Day website or find us on Facebook.

We hope to see you in the field!

#ask ACES: Microbes & Gut Health...Meet some tiny friends

What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics anyway?

Join us on Thursday, August 4, from noon to 1 p.m. as Dr. Hannah Holscher, assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, discusses your questions about diet and the trillions of microbes that live inside of you, during a one-hour chat on Twitter. Use the ‪#‎askACES‬ to ask your questions about the microbiome, how microbes keep us healthy, what foods we can eat to keep good microbes happy, and more!

Support the ACES Alumni Endowment

The ACES Alumni Association launched a campaign to create an endowment fund that will help us sustain our existing programs and activities as well as provide funds that give us opportunities to create and grow new points of connection for you and other alumni. We need your help to continue the tradition of making lifelong connections with all alumni who graduated from the College of ACES in the past as well as future graduates! 

To continue alumni efforts and expand, make a gift by contacting us at 217-333-7744. Thank you for your support!

Invest in ACES - select the ACES Alumni Endowment from the drop down menu.

Be An Advocate for the University of Illinois

Illinois Connection is the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy network. Its mission is to gain greater federal and state support for the University of Illinois’s three campuses as well as their interests. By increasing awareness and understanding of the U of I’s positive impact on the state, nation and world, Illinois Connection advocates help to ensure the University’s legacy and longevity.

Learn how you can assist the University of Illinois with state issues.  You can help make a difference!

Learn more

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!

Join one of our many groups for the College of ACES, ACES Alumni Association or University of Illinois to keep up to date with current activities or to reconnect with your alma mater!

ACES Alumni Association hosts the following groups online:

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.