2023 College of ACES awards celebrate exceptional alumni

The Wyffels Family pose for group picture after winning ACES Family Spirit Award

Every year, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has the honor of recognizing several outstanding ACES alumni for their achievements. Alumni Award recipients are chosen in the categories of Outstanding Young Alumni, Career Achievement, Award of Merit, and ACES Family Spirit. The 2023 winners will be honored during the ACES Alumni Awards Gala on Monday, April 8, at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign.

The ACES Alumni Award of Merit is presented to alumni who have a record of outstanding personal and professional accomplishments, made extraordinary humanitarian contributions, and served the college with dedication. 

The 2023 ACES Alumni Award of Merit recipients are:

  • Colleen Gibbons, Syracuse, New York - M.S. ’09 and Ph.D. ’13 human development and family studies
  • Ron Lloyd, Girard - B.S. ’94 and M.S. ’01 crop sciences
  • Wayne Swigert, Taylorville - B.S. ’74 agricultural and consumer economics 

The ACES Career Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated exceptional professional achievement and/or made extraordinary humanitarian contributions resulting in meaningful or life-changing impacts for a significant population.

The 2023 ACES Career Achievement recipients are:

  • Jessica Campbell, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Ph.D. ’06 nutritional sciences
  • Peter Hansen, Gainesville, Florida - B.S. ’76 agriculture
  • John “Jack” Murray, Champaign - B.S. ’78 crop sciences

The ACES Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to alumni under the age of 40 who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, or, through outstanding leadership or service, have significantly enhanced or improved the lives of others.

The 2023 ACES Outstanding Young Alumni recipients are:

  • Kirk Builta, Mahomet - B.S. ’07 agricultural leadership, education, and communications
  • Matt Farell, Denver, Colorado - B.S. ’09 food science and human nutrition
  • Krista Swanson, Oneida - B.S. ’07 crop sciences; M.S. ’09 agricultural and consumer economics

The ACES Family Spirit Award honors alumni families who have demonstrated their support of the college as alumni and/or students.

The 2023 ACES Family Spirit recipient is:

  • The Wyffels Family - Two generations of Wyffels have graduated from the University of Illinois. The family has provided decades of support to the College of ACES, Illinois Athletics, 4-H and Extension, and Agronomy Day.

At the gala, award recipients will be pinned as the newest members of the College of ACES Round Barn Society, a group dedicated to recognizing alumni who bring honor and distinction to ACES and the U. of I. Membership is granted to ACES alumni after serving in elected leadership positions on the alumni boards or receiving individual award recognition from the college or the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

“Each year the ACES Alumni Board and the College of ACES is honored to highlight and celebrate the success stories of a few chosen alumni. This year's honorees join decades of outstanding alumni who have previously been selected for our awards ceremony,” said Trudy West, president of the ACES Alumni Association. “We are humbled to recognize these individuals who have excelled at such a high level, and in so doing have brought a wonderful reflection to their alma mater, the University of Illinois.”

Registration for the ACES Alumni Awards Gala is open and available until March 22, 2024.

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