Olá Illini!

May 20
Richard Vogen, Director, Planning and Research Development
Illini, Illini everywhere. Our alma mater was well represented in São Paulo, Brazil this week. Brazilian alumni gathered on Monday evening to reconnect with one another and students from three study abroad programs. Whether our international alumni earned their bachelor, master, PhD, MBA, or LLM degrees at Illinois, there is a genuine fondness among this group for the University and the memories of Urbana-Champaign. It was really great for our current students to meet professional people from Brazil with ties to U of I. We have 24 undergraduate students in the International Business Immersion Program (ACE/BADM 436) this year, plus an intern and a graduate student, and they were joined on Monday night by students from Crop Sciences and the College of Business James Scholars. I may be biased, but our students from the IBIP always shine – and this year was no exception. They represent the future of the Illini nation and do it fabulously. The students send a shout-out to Professor Peter Goldsmith, who prepared them well for their inaugural experience in Brazil, but who was unable to come along this time. They miss you, Pete!
Illini in Brazil at IBIP

Not an everyday opportunity

May 20
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

It’s not every day that you get to eat dinner at the University of Illinois President’s House and it’s not every day that you get to be surrounded by so many successful alumni. But, when you’re a student in the College of ACES, anything is possible. I feel so lucky to be a member of the ACES Student Advancement Committee because I have opportunities like this knocking at my door.

As a student, I can’t even begin to express how lucky I feel to be attending the University of Illinois while Bob Easter is serving as President and Phyllis Wise is serving as Chancellor. They made it apparent at the ACES in Places event last week that the College of ACES is at the top of their list because of the impact that global agriculture has and will have in the future.

As I sat there at dinner on Thursday night and looked around, I realized that our college is great for a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is the people. People like President Easter who have made our college a better place and continue to do so for the future.

SAC at Illinois

Up close at Convocation

May 17
Walt Hurley, Professor of Animal Sciences
I work closely with many of the students in my department as an instructor, academic advisor and mentor, often over a period of several years. I witness their struggles and successes. Over the past several years I have had the pleasure of being one of the banner carriers in the procession for the ACES Convocation. One role of the banner carriers is to be on the stage and help pass out the diploma cases to the department heads as they shake hands and individually congratulate each degree candidate. This puts me very close to the candidates as they walk across the stage to be congratulated by the Deans and faculty. I always find this on-stage experience to be a profound reminder of accomplishments of these students, regardless of their department or program. It is a major life accomplishment to successfully complete a university degree, especially in the demanding academic environment we have in this college. We hold high standards here. I am proud of all of these students for completing their programs. They should be extremely proud of their accomplishments. We wish them great success as they move to the next stage of their careers and their lives.

Where you are

May 17
Kendra Courson, Director for Special Events

As an event planner, last night’s ACES In PLACES alumni event was as close to perfect as any event of which I have assisted in planning. The evening actually made me think of this quote: "Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect. Because we are so tied to what we think should be happening, or what we want to be happening, we don’t see what is happening.”

As a planner, I worried incessantly about the weather forecast since it was an outdoor event.  Despite the chance of thunderstorms, the evening was gorgeous…perfect even. And, as I sat at a back table with my mother, a dear family friend, two lovely alumni, my supervisor and colleague, and my student intern, I looked around and realized how blessed I have been to be a part of the College of ACES…as a student, alumni and now staff member. The people at my table were a huge part of my road to and through ACES. I had a mother and father who put me through the College of ACES 20 years ago, a friend who has supported me from then until now, a boss who is instrumental in how I do my work each day, a colleague who I treasure, and a student worker of which I could not be more proud. Sometimes nights that you expect to be second best, turn out to be better than you could ever imagine. Looking around my table and around the tent, listening to the speakers, and watching alumni reconnecting, it was one of those rare moments when you can stop and just be thankful for where you are.

Jackie Watson (BS ‘78 Home Ec), Gloria Kietzman, First Lady Cheryl Easter and Kendra Kietzman Courson (BS ’94 Agricultural Communications).
From l to r: Jackie Watson (BS ‘78 Home Ec), Gloria Kietzman, First Lady Cheryl Easter, and Kendra Kietzman Courson (BS ’94 Agricultural Communications). Photo by Karyl Wackerlin Photography.


May 9
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

Bittersweet is the only feeling to describe graduation. I am so happy for my friends who will be graduating this weekend, but at the same time I’m a little sad. I’ve always seemed to be friends with an older crowd of people and each year it’s difficult to say goodbye to my friends who move on to the ‘real world.’ I like to think that my friends who move away now live in my computer or my phone. I know that they’re only a phone call away and they’ll still be living on g-chat, maybe just not until the wee hours of the morning anymore.

I won’t see them in the halls of Mumford or in the study rooms of the ACES Library any longer, but I know I’ll see them down the road. When I look at the network of ACES alumni, it’s pretty cool to think that a lot of my really good friends are a part of that and soon I will be, too.

It’s hard to imagine that I’ll never walk to class with some of my friends again, nor will I study abroad with them again. However, it makes me even more thankful for the opportunities and the amount of time I’ve been able to spend with them.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go, but others stay for a while and they leave footprints on our hearts that change us forever. This is very true for my friends who are graduating- they’ve all touched my life in some way. Some I’ve known for longer than four years and others I’ve known for less, but either way they’re all special and I know they’re going to do great things!

A sweet treat

May 9
Marise Robbins-Forbes, ACES Director of Development, Crop Science and NRES
Flying in from Illinois and driving from West Virginia, our meeting in Maryland was indeed a special treat!  Gary Heichel and his wife Iris shared many wonderful stories from their time at Illinois. Gary served as head of agronomy (later crop sciences) for 14 formative years. As I shared news of former Field and Furrow members helping with the Turner Hall Project, they wondered how many alumni remember coming to their home each year for speech contests and sundaes. Do you have a special memory of faculty who showed such warm hospitality?
Mr. and Mrs. Heichel

Illinois hosts IFTSA Midwest Area Competition

May 9
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

The University of Illinois had the pleasure of being host to four other university’s Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) groups during the Midwest Area College Bowl held recently. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Sarah Scholl, a University of Illinois Ph.D. student in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, served on the IFTSA Board of Directors as the Midwest Area Representative. She was responsible for coordinating a weekend of festivities, including the College Bowl. 

More than 50 students were in attendance from Ohio State, Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, and University of Tennessee. On Friday, April 19, the event kicked-off with a friendly ‘Chopped’ competition, where teams of students created dishes with a specific set of ingredients. Judges, Dr. Soo-Yeun Lee (FSHN Associate Professor), Terri Cummings (FSHN Director of Student Services), and Carter Phillips (Head Chef of Bevier Café) tasted all the dishes and declared the winner based on taste, creativity, and originality. The following day was full of local Champaign-Urbana food. The morning started at Prairie Fruits Farm with a delicious breakfast on the farm. Students had time to shop from the local farmers present and see the goats on property. Back on campus, Bart Basi, from Cheese and Crackers in Champaign, led a cheese tasting and lecture. Lunch was catered by Maize, a local Mexican restaurant located in Champaign, where Guy Fieri from Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives” tried his first corn mushroom earlier this year.

After fueling up, students were eager to start the 2013 IFTSA Midwest Area Competition hosted in the College of ACES Library. Moderator Rod Stoll (VP of Public Relations at Farm Credit Services of Illinois and ACES alumnus) and judges Dr. Aaron Uesugi (Senior Scientist at Kraft), Yvonne Stuchell (Senior Research Food Scientist at ADM), and Dr. Ramesh Yettella (Scientist at the Institute of Food Safety and Health) oversaw the competition. In the end, Purdue University defeated University of Tennessee in a hard fought battle. We wish the Boilermakers the best as they represent the Midwest Region at the National Competition in Chicago!

College Bowl

Student symposium prepares students for professional meetings

May 2
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

This time of year brings several professional meetings in their specific fields for faculty, staff and students in the College of ACES. Many of the students will present posters and research presentations during these meetings. Students in Food Science and Human Nutrition are specifically preparing for two major meetings – Experimental Biology (a major professional meeting for the nutrition field) and the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting (the international meeting for the food science field).

A special event sponsored by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Graduate Student Association gives students an opportunity to practice their presentations prior to attending these valuable meetings.

The third annual Food Science and Human Nutrition Graduate Student Association Student Symposium was held on March 29 in the ACES Library Heritage Room. Students presented their original research in front of a captive audience and a panel of three adjunct faculty members. The topics of the research presented included flavor chemistry, soy proteins, sugars, chocolate, nutritional fortification, and biofuels.

As decided by the panel, Sarah Scholl, Ph.D. student in food science, placed first with “Determining the mechanism of hydrate formation for crystalline alpha-anhydrous glucose,” second was Anthony Cam, Ph.D. student in human nutrition, presenting “Role of lunasin, a dietary RGD peptide, in preventing inflammation and risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease,” and Hong Nan, M.S. student in food science claimed third with “Isobutanol: From Flavor to Fuel.”

Graduate students participating in the FSHN Graduate Student Association symposium.
Graduate students participating in the FSHN Graduate Student Association symposium.

Celebrating our eMERITus faculty

May 1
Meg Cline, Associate Dean of Advancement

This morning, it was a pleasure to celebrate our emeritus faculty members with our annual breakfast and “state of the College” address by Dean Hauser. This annual gathering is always enlightening, as the emeritus faculty seem to always give the Dean a good workout in fielding questions about the College and what is happening around campus – and a lively and thought provoking discussion always ensues.

In preparing my remarks for breakfast, I was curious to see how Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defined “emeritus.” According to Webster, emeritus is defined as holding after retirement an honorary title corresponding to that held last during active service.” For a moment, I had to pause and read that definition again. Frankly, the emeritus faculty I am privileged to know certainly play a role much more prominent in the life of the College than just  “honorary” and are certainly very active! Many of these faculty members still come to campus each day, teach courses, conduct research  in labs, work with grad students, serve on committees, and many do so without receiving any compensation in return from the University. In addition, these faculty are some of our most loyal advocates and give generous financial support to ensure future excellence in ACES.

So, with no disrespect to Merriam-Webster, I have to suggest an additional definition be added to the word “emeritus” – at least here in the College of ACES.  I propose the following: “a title bestowed upon an individual whose life calling is to serve as a teacher, researcher, and mentor to others. A person who gives unwavering amounts of time, energy, and financial resources to the future success and accomplishments of society.” Thank you to our “eMERITus" faculty for all that you do. You have laid a strong foundation for our past successes, but are and will continue to be a key element to tomorrow’s accomplishments.

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Emeritus ACES Faculty Breakfast

Dream big

May 1
Jason Emmert, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs

Dreaming big has been something I’ve heard and thought about several times over the last few months. Our friend Orion Samuelson encourages students to dream big, and his book “You Can’t Dream Big Enough” is all about how this theme has played out in his life. He believes, and I agree, that we should allow ourselves to have big dreams about what we can accomplish personally and professionally.

Dreaming big is something at which many of our students excel. A few weeks ago at our ACES Student Awards Banquet we had the chance to honor many of our students who have dreamed big and worked hard inside and outside the classroom to achieve those dreams. The college, departments, and student organizations recognized outstanding members, Bronze Tablet scholars, leadership award winners, and honors program graduates, just to name a few. This time of year, with convocation just around the corner, dreaming big is on my mind once again as our graduates move on to pursue new adventures in careers, graduate or professional school, or other opportunities. This is one of my favorite and least favorite times of the year because we’re celebrating the amazing achievements of our graduates, but also saying goodbye to so many students who we’ll miss seeing on campus. They’ve dreamed big, and are well on their way to fulfilling those dreams. 

Last Friday, the Dream Big project was present on the U of I Quad; take a moment to check out the video, and don’t forget to spend time thinking about your own big dreams!


Dream big sign