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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES
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College of ACES Alumni News

ABE Call for Nominations for Alumni Awards

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering requests nominations for its Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Awards. For more information click here


Call for Award of Merit Nominations

Nominate an ACES Alumnus for Award of Merit

Each year, the College of ACES Alumni Association honors three to five outstanding graduates of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences with the ACES Award of Merit. This award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of living University of Illinois College of ACES alumni who have excelled in their careers, leadership or service upon graduation from college.

Scoring will consist of 48% Professional Accomplishments and Service to Professional Organizations, 27% Service to the University of Illinois and College of ACES, 16% Community Achievement and Service to the Community; 6% Awards and Honors, and 3% Nominator’s Letter of Endorsement and Letters of Reference.

Guidelines for Nomination:

2021 Award of Merit Nomination Form

  • Submit the completed nomination form. Complete applications should include all relevant information within the nomination form. (Letters of reference only serve to support the nomination and are minimally factored in scoring.) Nominee information is limited to the area available in each area of the form. Do not attach extra pages.
  • Attach two letters of reference in support of this nomination. One letter of reference must be from a University of Illinois past or current faculty or staff member. Names, addresses and an email must be included on reference letters.
  • Attach resume of nominee (no vitas please).
  • All nomination forms, resumes, and letters of recommendation must be completed and submitted electronically to Kendra Courson at
  • Applications are due February 1, 2021. 

No confirmation of receipt of the nomination will be sent.  All materials received for a single nominee will constitute that person’s nomination.  It is the responsibility of the nominator(s) to ensure that all materials have been received by the College of ACES Alumni Association office.

NEW - Applications will only be considered for one year.  The same application may be resubmitted for up to three years.  It is recommended to update the application with any new or missing information before re-submitting.  If a nominee is not selected within the three-year period, a new application can be submitted after 3 years.

Questions please contact:

Kendra Courson

Interim Director of Alumni Engagement

Director of Special Events

View all past award winners online:

Young Alumni & Career Achievement Award Ceremony

Join us in celebrating these outstanding alumni with the 2020 ACES Alumni Association Career Achievement and Young Alumni Award Ceremony!


Alumni Spotlight: Nick Nagele

An agriculture communications major, with a concentration in advertising, Nick Nagele, is now the co-owner and COO of Whiskey Acres in Dekalb, Illinois. Whiskey Acres provides visitors a place to learn about agriculture, while also being able to share a drink. The distillery took on a different look at the beginning of the COVID-19 by starting the production of hand sanitizer.

Nagele credits the University of Illinois for helping him become a better businessman. The College of ACES allowed him to meet new people, have access to amazing professors, and excel in his natural talents. Nagele mentions that assistant dean Charles Olson was a key factor in him attending the University of Illinois and helped him reach his full potential. Being a student at the University taught Nagele to be bold, scrappy and fearless, which has helped him immensely while running his own business.

Before launching Whiskey Acres, Nagele worked in corporate relations for ADM, Weber Shandwick, and was a sales manager for Syngenta. At Weber Shandwick he found a passion to teach others about agriculture. In 2011, Nagele’s Syngenta customers, Jim and Jamie Walter, came to him with the idea to open a distillery with a focus on agriculture. Whiskey Acres opened in 2013, they began producing Whiskey at the end of 2014, and since then they have been a full-scale production. Nagele says “We have served over 40,000 guests from every continent, including Antarctica, 70 countries, and 40 states.”

Near the beginning of the pandemic, Whiskey Acres saw a need in his community and decided to help fill that void. Whiskey Acres’ first batch of hand sanitizer produced 170 gallons, but the batch size quickly grew by 6,000 gallons of hand sanitizer per week. Whiskey Acres donated hand sanitizer back to the community including, departments, firemen, and police officers. They also supplied ACE Hardware, food service companies, and the president of United Labs to fill an order for the Secret Service. With the profits made, Whiskey Acres donated $5,000 to the Northern Illinois Food Bank and $1,500 to Caring for the Caretakers. Nagele says that they chose the Northern Illinois Foodbank because “we felt it could have a large impact in our back yard and beyond”. As for the reason to choose Caring for Caretakers, Nagele says, “it was a way to immediately say “thank you” to those front line workers in our community”.

To those interested in starting a business, Nagele suggests “surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you, people who will challenge you, and to be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked before”. Nagele also credits his wife, Amanda, for always supporting him, and their two children, Gunner and Everly.

ACES Family Academies - Save the date!

The College of ACES Alumni Association will once again host the ACES Family Academies program, June 16-18, 2021. Watch our Facebook page and your email for more information.

Do you know a student interested in the College of ACES?

Freshman and spring transfer applications are now open, and prospective students can learn more about virtual visits and so much more on the College of ACES future students page. ACES offers virtual options for class and group visits, too.
Share these resources with young people in your life! 

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

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!

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