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College of ACES Alumni News

ACES Alumni Association Awards Gala

We will celebrate the recipients of the 2020 and 2021 College of ACES Alumni Association Awards. 

Award of Merit 

  • Janet Mathis - B.S. 1989 Agricultural Industries/Economics
  • Jim Endress - B.S. 1974  Agricultural Education, M.S. 1977 Agricultural Education
  • Sue Gray - B.S. 1980 Agricultural Economics, M.S. 1990 Agronomy
  • Matthew Kuchan – Ph.D. 1991 Nutritional Sciences 
  • Gene Schwarm - B.S. 1978 Agricultural Sciences
  • David Gilmore - B.S. 1989 Ag Economics
  • Mark C. Gossett - B.S. 1983 Ag Economics 
  • Penny Lauritzen - B.S. 1986 Agriculture
  • Robert Johnson - B.S. 1966 Ag Engineering, M.S. 1968 Ag Engineering  
  • Tim Hassinger - B.S. 1984 Ag Economics 

Career Achievement 

  • Emerson Nafziger - Ph.D.  1982 Agronomy  
  • John Slayton- B.S. 1976 Agricultural Economics
  • Asgerally Fazleabas - M.S. 1967 Dairy Science, Ph.D 1980 Dairy Science 
  • Barbara Kochanowski - M.S 1981 Nutritional Sciences, Ph.D. 1984 Nutritional Sciences 
  • Dean Dittmar - B.S. 1985 Technical Systems Management, M.S. 1991 Agricultural Education

Outstanding Young Alumni 

  • Michael Ganschow - B.S. 2007 Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • Rita Strakovsky  - Ph.D.  2011 Nutritional Sciences
  • Rachel Atwell Vann - B.S. 2012 Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
  • Diana Clark - B.S. 2011 Animal Science, M.S. 2014 Meat Science 
  • Ethan Luth - B.S. 2003 Farm Management 
  • Nancy Moran - B.S. 2005 Molecular and Cellular Biology, Ph.D. 2005 Nutritional Sciences 
  • Patrick Martin - B.S. 2009 International, Resource and Consumer Economics  
  • Wyatt Muse - B.S. 2007 Ag Business 

All recipients will be inducted into the Round Barn Society. Members who have not yet received their Round Barn pins will also be recognized and pinned.


Click here to register online by Friday, October 8. 

For questions or assistance, please contact the College of ACES Alumni Association office at 217-333-7744. 

Call for ACES Alumni Board of Directors Nominations

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Alumni Association has several opportunities for alumni to become even more connected to your alma mater - serving on the ACES Alumni Association Board of Directors.   
The Alumni Association is currently seeking nominations for:

Young Alumni - Chicago (under age 30 residing or employed in Lake, DuPage or Cook counties)

Human Development and Family Studies vocational director - graduate of HDFS or its predecessor department(s)

District 5 (Adams, Brown, Cass, DeWitt, Logan, Macon, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, & Scott counties)

District 7 (Alexander, Bond, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Jackson, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, & Washington counties)

Please review the nominee information for the ACES Alumni Association Board of Directors along with additionaly eligibility requirements. 

2022 ACES Award Nominations

Nominations are now being accepting for the 2022 College of ACES Alumni Awards. Visit the ACES Alumni Association Awards Page for more information, nomination forms and tips for successful nominations. 

Outstanding Young Alumni - Recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of University of Illinois College of ACES young alumni who have had exceptional professional achievement and/or made extraordinary humanitarian contributions.

Career Achievement - Recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of living University of Illinois College of ACES alumni who have had exceptional professional achievement and/or made extraordinary humanitarian contributions.

Award of Merit - 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.

Family Spirit - 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. 

ACE Alumni Tailgate Reunion

Join us for a pre-game tailgate and meet up with classmates and instructors you haven't seen for years or even decades! Enjoy beer, brats, and BBQ before cheering on the Illini.

Illinois vs. Wisconsin Football Game - Saturday, October 9, 2021 - 3 hours prior to kick-off

ACES Stock Pavilion Patio (1402 Pennsylvania Ave.) - only a 5 minute walk from the stadium with plenty of nearby parking

Cost: Adults $15 | Student (under 21) $5

Families are welcome!

Click here to register and pay for this special event!


Close or apart, we're Illini at Heart

Join the University of Illinois celebrate Homecoming Week 2021 from October 3rd through October 9th!

Click here to find more information regarding events throughout the week!

Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Janovsky

When she began her studies at the University of Illinois, Rachel Janovsky would not have pictured herself working for an international aircraft manufacturing company. A 2018 graduate of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES), Janovsky has been able to leverage her College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) degree to ensure the health and safety of employees at Honda.

Janovsky started working at Honda’s automotive plant as a Safety Compliance Analyst. She created safety management plans, ensured the working environment was safe for assembly line workers, and prevented injuries through OSHA compliance. Janovsky later worked as the plant ergonomist. Discussing her time in the automotive industry, Janovsky points out that having traditional training in ACES sciences labs allowed her to better understand lab techniques and very essential safety methods.

Janovsky’s decision to choose NRES as a major was motivated by her goal of wanting to impact the world, while obtaining a hands-on education. In NRES, she learned ways to prevent natural disasters and help the environment. At Illinois, she was a James Scholar, member of Phi Sigma Sigma, served on the Panhellenic Council, and assisted on a research project with Dr. Eric Larson focused on the language in invasive species research papers. Janovsky published her research and won an award for her research poster she presented at Explore ACES.  Students interested in experiences like Janovsky’s can learn more on the NRES section of the ACES website.

One of her favorite parts about attending the College of ACES was the small class sizes and strong community that she formed with her peers over the four years while pursuing her degree. “My time in ACES allowed me to have more one-on-one time with professors, which led me to learn the concepts better,” she says.

Janovsky recently started a safety role at Honda Aircraft Company.  In her new role, she develops trainings and policies, ensures OSHA compliance, serves on the emergency responder team, evaluates new chemicals, and assists with injury preventative programs. Just as NRES provided her hands-on experiences impacting the world, Honda is affording her the same opportunity.

When asked to give advice for a young professional, Janovsky responded, “Five-year plans are a good starting point, but your career is going to lead you to places that you never imagined.”

She stresses the importance of taking advantage of opportunities when they are present. She also points out being a recent graduate provides you the unique chance to work or live somewhere you might not have considered previously.

In her free time, Janovsky likes to cook and has been able to develop her culinary skills during the pandemic.

2021 Career Achievement and Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipients

We proudly present the 2021 ACES Alumni Association Career Achievement and Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients!

2021 Career Achievement Recipients

·         Emerson Nafziger - Ph.D.  1982 Agronomy  
·         John Slayton - B.S. 1976 Agricultural Economics

2021 Outstanding Young Alumni Recipients

·         Michael Ganschow - B.S. 2007 Agricultural and Consumer Economics
·          Rita Strakovsky - Ph.D.  2011 Nutritional Sciences
·         Rachel Atwell Vann - B.S. 2012 Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences


Alumni Spotlight: Nora Rasure

With a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a love for adventure, Nora Rasure’s life and career have been nothing short of exciting. Rasure enjoyed a successful 40-year career with the US Forest Service and is now retired and living in Sisters, Oregon. While she was able to create amazing memories during her career, she was also able to make a difference by caring for public land and serving people.

Growing up, Rasure spent a lot of time outdoors and fell in love with nature. She joined 4-H, where she participated in several conservation, wildlife, and biology programs. However, the biggest influence on her passion was a week-long forestry camp in Wisconsin where she learned about all aspects of forest management and became completely enamored. These interests led her to the University of Illinois, where she received her bachelor’s of science Forestry.

Rasure fondly remembers her time in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). She appreciated the diverse education she received here. It allowed her to have a forester background, but still pursue other interests within forestry because of her broad education. She was active in the Illini Foresters student organization, serving as the chairperson.

Reflecting on her time in ACES, her favorite part was the relationships. The small cohorts of the forestry program allowed her to make lifelong connections. The faculty also left an impression on her. They took a personal interest in students and cared about helping them reach their next goals, which she appreciated immensely, she recalls. That continues today. Learn more on the ACES future students page.

After graduation, Rasure started her career in the US Forest Service. She began supervising eight teens in Nevada. Her career, eventually, took her all over the US and in all different directions. She recently wrapped up her time as the regional forester in the Intermountain region. Her leadership role was significant. The region included 32 million acres, 12 national forests, and 3,000 employees. She had a wide range of responsibilities and decisions to make, and she interacted with people and nature on all levels.

Rasure says her career was “built over time.” She took advantage of opportunities that came her way to try new things and take on more leadership. “It’s not always comfortable or easy, but you just go with it,” said Rasure, who always felt that excitement and interest outweighed nerves and uncertainty.

Rasure’s career and journey have certainly brought her joy. Not only did she live in seven states, each special for their own reason, and travel all over the US, her job allowed an abundance of fun activities. She skied, went snowmobiling, river rafted, took horseback riding trail trips, and even rode a fat-tire bicycle – all while on the clock.

“Overall, my job gave me a lot of fulfillment,” she said.

Rasure will surely continue to find joy and adventure during her retirement. While the pandemic ruined her plans to travel more, she looks forward to doing that again. She also plans to spend more time with family and friends, as well as train her new golden retriever puppy. She’s been looking after herself physically with yoga and walking, but also mentally, as she is taking the time to learn about something new that interests her: holistic nutrition. Of course, she will stay engaged with her passion for the national forests. She joined the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, and is serving on its board. Overall, Rasure plans to take life at her own pace.

As for ACES students, “Be adventurous and explore different opportunities,” Rasure advises. “Don’t think you’ve got it all figured out, or that you have to have it all figured out. It’s a journey. It’s about trying new opportunities, exploring different paths, being open to possibilities, and finding things that bring you joy.”

Award of Merit 2021 Recipients

We’re pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the ACES Alumni Award of Merit. We look forward to celebrating these recipients later this year.

Janet Mathis - B.S. 1989 Agricultural Industries/Economics

Jim Endress - B.S. 1974  Agricultural Education, M.S. 1977 Agricultural Education

Sue Gray - B.S. 1980 Agricultural Economics, M.S. 1990 Agronomy

Matthew Kuchan – Ph.D. 1991 Nutritional Sciences 

Gene Schwarm - B.S. 1978 Agricultural Sciences

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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