Search form

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
Alumni Association
Give to Alumni Association

College of ACES Alumni News

Registration Open! - Big Ten Ag Alumni Event

Register now!

Monday, March 2, 2020

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
College of ACES Alumni Pre-Reception with Dean Kim Kidwell, College of ACES Dean

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Big Ten Ag Alumni Reception

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20014
(Metro Center Stop, 13th St. Exit)

$25.00 (includes open bar and buffet of favorite savories)

Register Online for the Big Ten Reception by February 24.
** Please note that there is no registration required for the ACES pre-reception from 5-6 p.m. If you plan to attend this pre-reception only, please email Samantha Hurt at  

In the spirit of institutional cooperation, the Big Ten schools with agricultural sciences and natural resources programs are again gathering our alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C. area for a special event at the National Press Club. Now in its tenth year, the reception has been a great success with alumni and friends networking across institutions and enjoying one another’s company. Additionally this is an opportunity to learn how our colleges are working cooperatively on behalf of land-grant institutions.

Prior to the Big Ten event, the College of ACES Alumni Association will also host a reception to meet with Dean Kim Kidwell for a College of ACES update and an opportunity to network in a smaller setting.

Big Ten Ag Alumni Facebook Page

Registration Open! ACES in Places: John Deere - Moline, IL


The College of ACES Alumni Association invites you to join us for an ACES in Places event in Moline, IL.

Share your Illini Spirit at the John Deere Headquarters. You will have an opportunity to choose between two different guided tours:

John Deere World Headquarters: In addition to the popular and publicly-available Display Floor, get inside to the unique office facility and atrium.

Moline Technology Innovation Center (MTIC): This a very unique opportunity for an exclusive tour of the innovation labs.

Special guests include:

Dean Kim Kidwell, College of ACES Dean

We hope you will join us for an evening to network and celebrate agriculture with the College of ACES. Registration for this event is limited. Register early to guarantee your spot!

Date: Thursday, March 26 2020

Cost: $20.00/per person


5:15 PM    Check-in at Deere World Headquarters

5:30 PM    Tours Begin   

6:45 PM    Dinner

8:30 PM    Conclude

1 John Deere Pl, Moline, IL 61265

Parking: Park near Deere & Company World Headquarters as that is where general check-in will take place. If you are touring MTIC, you will then have a short walk to that separate location. If needed, you would also have the option to drive across the parking lot to a closer spot near MTIC. If you have concerns, please contact Samantha Hurt at (217)300-8457 or We will make every attempt to accommodate.

We look forward to seeing you!

ACES Award of Merit Luncheon

Join the College of ACES Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding ACES Alumni who have made a significant impact in their careers and their communities!

April 13, 2020
11:30AM - 1:30PM
Cost: $30/person

ACES Library Heritage Room
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

Registration opens mid February.

ACES in Places: Dixon Springs

The College of ACES Alumni Association invites you to joing us for ACES in Places event on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 5:00pm. Share your Illini Spirit at Dixon Springs. More information to come!

James W. "Jimmy" Smith receives 2019 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement

Congratulations to James W. “Jimmy” Smith, MS ’84 ACES, PHD ’86 ACES. Smith is director general of the International Livestock Research Institute, where he works tirelessly to promote sustainable farming practices in developing countries overseeing 700 consultants throughout Asia and Africa.

Jimmy is a recipient of the 2019 Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement!

Read more


ACES Family Academies registration to open in March!

The College of ACES Alumni Association will host the ACES Family Academies program on July 09-10, 2020 with check in the evening of July 8, 2020.  Alumni are invited to bring youth ages 8-13 years old to campus for a 2 day educational experience while spending time together on the University of Illinois and College of ACES campus.

Participants will enjoy the college experience living in a residence hall, eating in the dining facilities and participating in educational classes on the College of ACES campus. This program will give you an opportunity to relive and share your college days as well as create new memories with your little Illini.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to return to campus with your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews to share in this experience!

Registrations taken on a first come, first served basis, until filled. Registration opens in March 2020.

Cost:  $195.00 per person

Questions? Email

ACES Alumni Award Nominations Due May 15, 2020

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, 2020. 

For more information and nomination materials visit: .

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:

College of ACES Alumni Association
ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, Suite 115
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

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


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, 2020.
  • Nominee must be able to attend ACES College Connection Weekend activities in the Fall 2020 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.

Nomination Submission

All nomination materials must be submitted to:

College of ACES Alumni Association
ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, Suite 115
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

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


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 2020.

Guidelines for Nomination

  • Nominee should be able to attend ACES Alumni Weekend activities during Fall 2020.
  • 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.

Nomination Submission

All nomination materials must be submitted to:

College of ACES Alumni Association
ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center, Suite 115
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL  61801

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

Veal to begin new Illinois 4-H Alumni Association

I am excited to share that I have accepted a new position with the University of Illinois Extension and Illinois 4-H as the 4-H Alumni and Constituent Engagement Manager beginning January 6, 2020.  

Since 2006, I have provided administrative leadership to the College of ACES Alumni Association and to the ACES Alumni Board of Directors. I have led marketing and communications, as well as awards and recognition programs, including establishing the ACES Round Barn Society in 2012, establishing the ACES Family Academies in 2015, hosted many ACES alumni district, regional and special events, and served as an advisor for the ACES Student Advancement Committee. Prior to this role, I worked with the University of Illinois Extension as an Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development for 12 years in McLean County.

In my role with Illinois 4-H, I will be leading efforts to bridge stronger connections with 4-H alumni and constituents and create and establish the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association, a first in the country. I look forward to working with local county staff, 4-H alumni and many organizations to identify and build a 4-H alumni network in Illinois and beyond.

As I reflect this holiday season, I am blessed to have had the opportunity to represent each of you, work with dedicated and loyal ACES alumni board of director volunteers and build new programs for the College of ACES that have engaged many alumni in a variety of ways. You each have touched my life in so many ways and I am forever grateful for the passion you have for your alma mater.  ACES is well known for it's dedicated alumni base and I know that will continue in the years to come. A friend said to me, "The green clover lives in the world of orange and blue, so you are just adding to the family."  I look forward to that challenge and continuing to add to our alumni family!

My last day on campus will be Friday, December 13.

Thank you for your passion for the College of ACES, your love of the orange and blue and for the many stories, laughs and experiences you have provided to me and others!

Were you a 4-H member? Be sure to stay connected and sign up to learn more about the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association -


Tina Veal
B.S. '93, M.S. '01 Ag Education
Director of Alumni Relations
College of ACES

Leslie Munger Named Illini Comeback Award Winner

Congratulations to Leslie Geissler Munger, '78 ACES!

Leslie was named as an Illini Comeback award winner by the University of Illinois Alumni Association and was recognized during 2019 Homecoming.

Leslie served as Illinois State Comptroller from 2015-2018. She managed state finances during the nearly two-year period Illinois went without a budge--working to reduce the backlog of unpaid bills--and was a strong advocate for balanced budgets and prudent tax-dollar management. In addition, Munger has served as deputy governor and acting director of the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. She oversaw the expansion of Intersect Illinois, the state's economic development organization, and guided the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. Munger also worked closely with the University of Illinois System leadership to advance the Discovery Partners Institute initiative. 



Congratulations to Champaign County 4-H Member, Aja Capel

An Illinois 4-H member from Champaign County, Aja Capel, is featured on an NBC video segment for her work in providing STEM activities to underserved minority youth. She was honored as a national Prudential Spirit of 4-H Award winner.

Congratulations Aja!

H. Rex Gaskins Named Keith and Sara M. Kelley Endowed Professor of Immunophysiology

Congratulations to H. Rex Gaskins in the Department of Animal Sciences, who was recently honored as the Keith and Sara M. Kelley Endowed Professor of Immunophysiology.

H. Rex Gaskins, a professor of animal sciences and nutritional sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois, was honored as the Keith W. and Sara M. Kelley Endowed Professor of Immunophysiology during an investiture ceremony at U of I on Nov. 7. 

Gaskins holds faculty positions in the U of I Departments of Animal Sciences and Pathobiology, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology.

Learn More


Join the hunt for the Animal Head Medallions

In addition to the food and fellowship of the Celebrate Food and Agriculture event, this year’s celebration included the reveal of custom terra cotta animal head medallions.

When the University of Illinois Stock Pavilion was constructed in 1913, it featured 52 terra cotta animal head medallions on the exterior north wall. The designs featured 10 different species viewed as important to the livestock industry (two each of beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, pigs, and sheep).

During Stock Pavilion renovations in the 1950s, the animal heads were removed and many were damaged. Intact medallions were stored on the South Farms, but many were lost over the decades.

Watch a video about the animal head medallions.

In 2018, five of the pieces were returned to the Department of Animal Sciences. Two other medallions were found in a campus storage room and in a local garden.

During recent efforts to reinvigorate the interior and exterior of the Stock Pavilion, Longshadow Planters of Pomona, Illinois, was contracted to create molds of the remaining pieces to reproduce dry cast limestone medallions. Five of the reproductions were selected for incorporation in the wall on the south exterior of the Stock Pavilion.

The John N. Chester Estate Endowment supported the recreation of the animal head medallions. The recovered original pieces remain on display in the Stock Pavilion.

The search continues for three of the original 10 medallion designs. Help the College of ACES find the Holstein and Jersey cows and Poland China pig. If you have any information about the missing medallions, contact the College of ACES Office of Advancement at 217-333-9355 or

Learn More

University of Illinois requests data from farmers to better understand unique growing year

Calling all corn and soybean growers! Share your 2019 experiences with University of Illinois Extension and ACES via a simple survey and help us help YOU in future years! Read more and access the survey here (and don’t forget to share!)

Learn more

ACES Leadership Scholarships

ACES will award $2,500 Leadership Scholarships to first-time freshmen entering an ACES major in fall 2020. Preference given to early action applicants, so apply by today:

One Leadership Scholar will be selected from each of the state of Illinois’ 102 counties. No additional application for the scholarship, other than your U of I application.

Other section criteria for the ACES Leadership Scholarship includes:
• Admission to a major in the College of ACES
• Exceptional leadership involvement in activities with preference given for leadership experiences related to the College of ACES (including but not limited to FFA, 4-H, FCCLA, SkillsUSA, FBLA, and others)

Bühler gift will power new Illinois Feed Technology Center

More good news for the new Feed Technology Center: Bühler Group will be the main supplier of grain and feed processing equipment for the FTC, contributing milling, grinding, mixing, and pelleting equipment to the project.

Learn More

Gift Helps Make New Playground for the Child Development Lab possible

“I wanted to do this for the kids. Play is a really important part of children’s lives and development.” Gift helps make new playground for the Child Development Laboratory possible. Play on!

The Child Development Laboratory (CDL) at the University of Illinois has been part of the campus and Champaign-Urbana community for more than 77 years, preparing over 4,000 young children for successful futures.

A gift from Nannette “Nann” Armstrong, an alumna of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at U of I, is helping to support the CDL in its commitment to provide high-quality early care and education for children, as well as to serve the campus through its teaching, research, and outreach and engagement.

Through Armstrong’s gift, along with additional support from the College of ACES, the U of I Office of the Provost, and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, a new playground was installed this summer at CDL.

The fully renovated playground was dedicated in a recent ceremony on campus, attended by Armstrong, friends and family, faculty and staff, and officials from the College of ACES and U of I.

Learn More

Kidwell Profile with Prairie Farmer

ACES in the News: Prairie Farmer recently spoke with ACES Dean Kim Kidwell about mentors, leadership, the current generation of students, and more.

Learn More

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 

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.

Stay Connected on Social Media

Online social networking is a great tool to stay in tought 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 - 


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. 

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!

ACES News Subscriptions

Looking to stay connected to ACES news? Subscribe today!

Click on "subscribe" on the left side of this page.

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

New College of ACES Newsletter in 2020 to include alumni news

Thank you for reading this edition of the ACES Alumni Association EAlum Report. New in 2020, we will be delivering your alumni news in an updated College of ACES enewsletter format. Stay tuned for more outstanding ACES alumni information, and other ACES stories from