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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
Alumni Association
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December 2018 ACES E-Alum Report

Happy Holidays from the ACES Alumni Association

The College of ACES Alumni Association would like to wish you
and your loved ones a happy holiday season!

We extend wishes of joy and happiness to you, and your family,
and sincerely thank you for your dedication to the College of ACES this past year.

Looking forward to seeing you at upcoming alumni events and activities in 2019!

Pictured LtoR:  Tom Ward, retired colleague, Rachel Recker, Intern, Jordon Johns, Intern,
Liza Vaughn, Administrative Assistant, Cassidy Thomas, Intern, Tina Veal, Director of Alumni Relations.

Retirement of Liza Vaughn

ACES Alumni Association's Administrative Assistant, Liza Vaughn, retired on November 30, 2018.
Liza has been a wonderful asset to the ACES Alumni Association, and she will be greatly missed!
We wish her the best in her retirement!

Looking for a last minute gift? Give the gift of an ACES Family Academies experience!

Looking for that special holiday gift? Look no further than bringing a youth ages 8-13 to campus this summer for the ACES Family Academies program July 11-12, 2019.

If you would like to join us for the fifth annual ACES Family Academies as a holiday gift. Submitting the $195/participant registration fee by December 25th will allow you to register for courses one week earlier than the general public in March 2019. Additionally, a link to a personalized certificate will be provided in your confirmation that can be used as a gift certificate for the holiday!

Register now

Any questions can be directed to Tina Veal at, or contact our office as 217-333-7744

We hope that you will join us and create memories that will last a lifetime! 

ACES In Places - IL Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

The ACES Alumni Association hosted the second Alumni reception at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual meeting on Sunday, December 2, 2018.
Alums gathered in the Champaign County Farm Bureau Suite.
It was a fun evening to gather with our ACES alumni and friends!
Thanks to all who stopped by!

Student Advancement Committee ACES Apparel Sale

Support College of ACES students by purchasing College of ACES Apparel! A portion of each purchase supports scholarships for College of ACES students, and items will be available for pickup or delivery after winter break.

You can represent your college with everything from tank tops and polos to rain jackets and pullovers, all while supporting members of the ACES family! Please visit <>

Store will close Wednesday, December 19th 11:59 PM



Incoming ACES Alumni Board Members

Welcome to our new ACES Alumni Board of Directors members

  • Jerry Brookhart, District 3 Director
  • Dan Block, District 1 Director
  • Jeff Behme, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Vocational Director

Outgoing ACES Alumni Board of Directors

Thank you to these outgoing board members

  • Randy DeSutter, Secretary
  • Holly Spangler, District 3 Director
  • Chad Yagow, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Vocational Director
  • Bill Francis, Past President

We greatly appreciate the time and talents you have shared with us!

Outgoing ACES Alumni Executive Board Members

Thank you to our outgoing executive board

  • Randy DeSutter, Secretary
  • Alan Puzey, Treasurer
  • Sue Gray, President
  • Kirk Builta, Vice President
  • Bill Francis, Past President

These alumni have given so much of their time and talent to the College of ACES!

Thank you for your leadership!

Incoming ACES Alumni Executive Board Members

Congratulations to our new ACES Alumni Board of Directors Executive Committee for 2019

  • Raquel Lacey Nelson, Treasurer
  • Trudy West, Secretary
  • Alan Puzey, Vice President
  • Kirk Builta, President
  • Sue Gray, Past President

Looking forward to a great year ahead!

Outgoing President Thank You-Sue Gray

Sue has served the ACES Alumni Association for twelve years beginning in 2007, serving as the Crop Sciences Vocational Director, Secretary, Vice President and President.  Sue has been instrumental in engaging our board, helped to establish the first ACES Alumni Board JBT scholarship, was an integral member of the launch of the ACES Round Barn Society, helped to establish the ACES Family Academies program, and the new ACES Career Achievement award and many more key initiatives we have created. Sue bleeds Orange and Blue.  You can find her attending most all of our ACES in Places events across the state, campus events and serving as an ambassador and recruiter for the College of ACES.  Sue completed her term as President in December and we want to thank her for her many years of leadership and outstanding service to the University of Illinois and College of ACES.

UI Alliance Alumni College in Naples

The University of Illinois is coming to Naples, Florida!

Alumni College with the Illinois Alumni Association

When:  January 10, 2019

Where:  LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, 9891 Gulf Shore Dr., Naples, FL 34108

Time:  9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

This is your chance to get back in the “classroom” and learn from some of Illinois’s remarkable faculty members— but with no term papers or tests!

This event will include three lectures and a lunchtime University update.

Alumni College Featured Professors:
Dr. Marsha Barrett: Assistant Professor, History
“The Impact of an Unorthodox Presidency: Reexamining the Carter Administration”

Dr. Viktor Gruev: Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
“Bio-Inspired Sensors: From the Ocean to the Operating Room”

Dr. Kelly Swanson: Professor, Animal and Nutritional Science
“Dietary Choices: How to Modify the Gut Microbiome and Manage Weight”

Reception with Chancellor Robert J. Jones

Time:  6-8 p.m.

Join us for a reception with fellow alumni and friends.

We will have a question and answer session with Chancellor Jones. If you would like to submit questions for consideration, please do so when registering for this event.

Register online

To RSVP by phone or for questions, please contact Brooke Knott at or 217.333.9834

U of I Alumni Reception at iLandscape

University of Illinois Alumni Reception at iLandscape

All Illini Welcome!

Join us to network with fellow Illini and representatives from the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Date:  January 31, 2019

Time:  4:00-5:30 p.m.

Location:  Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel

RSVP by Jan. 23 at or call 217-333-9355.

Hosted by College of ACES Advancement, Department of Crop Sciences & 
Department of Landscape Architecture in the College of Fine and Applied Arts

UIAA Braggin' Rights Reception

You’re invited to join fellow Illini fans for a pregame party prior to the Illinois vs. Missouri men’s basketball game in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, December 22, 2018 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Tin Roof, 1000 Clark Avenue, St. Louis, MO. Click here for more details.

December 2019 ACES Commencement

The College of ACES December 2018 Convocation Ceremony will be held on

Date: Friday, December 21, 2018 
Time: 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Where:  The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in the Foellinger Great Hall.

We welcome all of our graduates to alumni status!

Call for Alumni Award Nominations-Due May 15, 2019

Know an outstanding young alum? Someone who graduated from the College of ACES and excelled in their chosen career? A family who has dedicated time and loyalty to the College of ACES for generations? Now is the chance to recognize them for all their hard work. Nominations are due for these awards by May 15, 2019.  For more information and nomination materials visit here.


ACES Career Achievement Award

The University of Illinois College of ACES Alumni Association Career Achievement Award was created in 2017 by the College of ACES Alumni Association to recognize graduates from the College of ACES who have had exceptional professional achievement and/or made extraordinary humanitarian contributions.  Distinctive from the Award of Merit, which recognizes an individual’s combined body of work, this award recognizes a more focused, exceptional contribution or achievement.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Is a graduate of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) or a predecessor college (College of Agriculture or the School of Human Resources and Family Studies/Home Economics) receiving a bachelors, masters and/or doctorate degree(s) AND
  • has contributed significantly to his/her profession, industry, and/or the greater community; OR
  • has a record of outstanding personal and professional accomplishments; OR
  • has made extraordinary contribution via volunteer or humanitarian efforts resulting in meaningful or life-changing impacts for a significant population.
  • Award of Merit recipients are not eligible for this award.

Nomination Procedure 

  • The College of ACES Alumni Awards committee will review all nominations and make selections.
  • Individuals selected for recognition will be contacted by the College of ACES Alumni Association and a date will be determined to recognize the individual.

Nomination Document

  • All nominations should follow the format of the nomination form to insure all relevant information is included.
  • Applications will only be considered for one year.  Applications may be resubmitted for up to three years.  If a nominee is not selected after 3 years, a new application can be submitted after 3 additional years.

Nomination Submission

All nomination materials must be submitted to:

Tina Veal
Director of Alumni Relations
College of ACES Alumni Association
ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, Suite 124
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

Nominations may be submitted by fax to:  217-333-0354

Electronic submissions may be sent to: 


ACES Outstanding Young Alumni

Each year the College of ACES Alumni Association honors up to three outstanding graduates of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, or through outstanding leadership or service have significantly enhanced or improved the lives of others.

Guidelines for Nomination

  • Nominees must have received a bachelors, masters or doctorate degree from the University of Illinois College of ACES.
  • Nominee must be under the age of 40 on January 1, 2018.
  • Nominee must be able to attend ACES College Connection Weekend activities in the Fall 2018 to accept the award.
  • Submit the completed nomination form. Complete applications should include all relevant information within the nomination form and letters of support should only support the nomination, they are not scored.
  • Provide a biographical sketch (1 page maximum) about the nominee. (included in nomination packet)
  • Nomination information is limited to text box area provided in each area. Do not attach extra pages.

Please attach

  • Attach a minimum of two letters of reference and a maximum of four, in support of this nomination. One letter of reference should be from a University of Illinois faculty or staff member. Names and addresses must be included on reference letters.
  • Attach resume of nominee (no vitas please).
  • All nominations are kept on file for three years to be reviewed for the ACES Young Alumni Award, however nominators are encouraged to update forms if they are re-considered after the initial year of application.
  • All materials received for a single nominee will constitute that person’s nomination. It is the responsibility of the nominator(s) to insure that all materials have been received by the College of ACES Alumni Association office.

Nomination Process/Timeline
A call for nominations will be made in coordination with ACES College Connection fall events.

Selected individuals will be recognized during ACES College Connection if they are able to attend. If the recipient is unavailable to attend, another appropriate time and location for recognition will be determined. The selected individuals will also become Round Barn Society members and will be pinned when receiving their recognition.

Scoring will consist of 85% professional accomplishments and 15% service to community.


ACES Family Spirit Award

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Family Spirit Award recognizes those family members who have demonstrated their support of the College as alumni and/or current students. Selection will be based on, but not limited to a display of sincere dedication to the College of ACES and significant connections to the College and University. Awardees will be honored during the ACES Alumni Weekend activities in Fall 2018 ~ September 7-8, 2018.

Guidelines for Nomination

  • Nominee should be able to attend ACES Alumni Weekend activities during Fall 2018.
  • Complete and submit the nomination form.

Please attach

  • Attach a minimum of two and a maximum of three letters of reference, in support of this nomination. Either the nomination or one letter of reference must be from a University of Illinois faculty or staff member. Name, addresses, and email addresses must be included on reference letters.

All nominations are kept on file for three years to be reviewed for the ACES Family Spirit Alumni Award.

Best Wishes to Jennifer Smith and Marise Robbins-Forbes

Jennifer Smith, Assistant Director of Development, has accepted a position with the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA) Foundation in Bloomington as Development Manager. Her last day with the College of ACES will be January 4, 2019. Jennifer joined the ACES Advancement team in September 2015 to support the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Agricultural Education and Leadership Program and the Illinois 4-H Foundation. Over the last year and half, she has also supported campaign funding priorities for Illinois Extension.

Marise Robbins-Forbes, Director of Development, College of ACES, will retire effective December 21, 2018 from the College of ACES. Marise joined the University of Illinois in 2009 as inaugural Chief Advancement Officer for the Graduate College, then in 2011, she joined the College of ACES. Her accomplishments at Illinois include securing the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences’ largest gift (a sustainable agriculture endowment), scholarships, fellowships, and endowed programs.  She has been deeply engaged in several capital projects that have transformed the Stock Pavilion and Turner Hall, and added new gardens to the Arboretum. She is known for her collegial cross-campus collaborations and personalized approach to engaging and securing gifts. Following retirement from Illinois, Marise will be relocating to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she will lead a team of advancement professionals at Virginia Tech University.

Best Wishes to both Jennifer and Marise as they begin the next chapter!  We will miss their contributions to the College of ACES.


Turner Hall Has A New Look

Turner Hall has a new look as part of the Turner Hall Transformation project.  This 38,377 sq ft, three floor renovation fully transformed classrooms on the first and second floors of Turner Hall, as well as advanced laboratories in the basement. Transformed classrooms feature new technologies, state-of-the-art equipment, new flooring, HVAC and lighting. With a designation of campus funds from the Provost, additional renovations of shared student spaces, hallways and the north annex of turner hall are now completed. What once was dim, yellowed ceiling lights, broken floor tiles, fixed cabinets and dark hallways surrounding the classroom now welcome natural light, feature new technology, and four collaborations spaces.  Be sure to stop in to see this transformation the next time you visit campus!

Save the Date-Big Ten Ag Alumni Event

You are invited to attend the 9th annual Big Ten Ag Alumni Reception in Washington, D.C. In the spirit of institutional cooperation, the Big Ten schools with agricultural programs are gathering our alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C. area for this special event. Please join us at the National Press Club for a reception and enjoy the fellowship of alumni and friends in agricultural and natural resources from across the country. Reconnect with college deans, administrators, faculty and staff from your alma mater.

The College of ACES Alumni Association will also host a reception with Dean Kim Kidwell, College of ACES Dean, prior to the Big Ten Ag Alumni event at the National Press Club from 5-6pm.  

Date: Monday, March 4, 2019
Time: 5-6 p.m. - ACES Alumni Reception 6–8 p.m. Big Ten Ag Alumni Event
Place: National Press Club
529 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20045
(Metro Center Stop, 13th St. Exit)
Cost: $25 per person
Heavy hors d'oeuvres and open bar

Registration will open in January 2019.

Upcoming Events Calendar

  • December 21 - ACES Commencement; Krannert Center, Foellinger Great Hall 5:00 p.m.
  • March 4, 2019 - Big Ten Ag Alumni Event, Washington DC
  • April 8, 2019 – ACES Award of Merit Luncheon
  • April 8, 2019 – FUNK Awards Banquet
  • April 15, 2019– ACES Alumni Board Meeting
  • May 12, 2019 – ACES Tassel Turn 10:30-12:30pm Colonnades Club
  • May 13, 2019 – ACES Alumni Board Meeting
  • May 15, 2019 - Young Alumni, Family Spirit, ACES Career Achievement Award Nominations Due
  • July 11-12, 2019 – ACES Family Academies

**Watch for more ACES in Places events to be announced soon.**

ACES News Subscription

Looking to stay connected to ACES News?  Subscribe today!

Click on Subscribe on the left side of the page! 

You will receive a weekly newsletter that features news highlights of the week.

Join the IL 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.

Update Your E-mail Address

Do you have an updated email address on file? Do you have an email you prefer to receive correspondence to? 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

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. 

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!

ACES Alumni Association hosts the following groups online:

ACES Alumni Facebook -

College of ACES Facebook -

Twitter -

Linked In -

YouTube -

Flicker -

Instagram -

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!