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Tami Craig Schilling: My ACES Story
Over the past 150 years, the University of Illinois and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences have been at the forefront of education, discovery, and translation. From improving people’s lives to stretching the frontiers of knowledge, ACES graduates are changing our world for the better. In this special Voices of ACES blog series, we are celebrating and embracing our past. Our ACES story is unique, and its characters are doing remarkable work – work that truly matters.
By Tami Craig Schilling, B.S., '90 Agricultural Communications
From the time I was a little girl, the Illinois logo came into my house each month on 4-H and Extension letters. Then, on a beautiful spring day, I set foot on campus for the state 4-H livestock judging contest, and my life was never the same. I later met ACES leaders Dean Chuck Olson and Dr. Jim Evans during State FFA Convention at Assembly Hall, where they introduced me to my future major: agricultural communications.
Later that year, the most important U of I envelope arrived at my house confirming my college acceptance, and it literally changed my life’s trajectory in ways I never imagined. I just celebrated my 27th year at Monsanto, and I can directly link my ACES Illini experience with providing me an opportunity I never knew existed.
My U of I and ACES experiences have enabled a future I could’ve only dreamed of as a child. From 4-H demonstrations to farmer meetings and field days, from Student Advancement Committee to sales team leadership, from Extension’s agronomy short course to leading Knowledge Transfer Agronomy, from Ag Communications campaign class to leading corporate communications, my Illini roots have kept me connected to my alma mater. I was recently back in Mumford Hall for my final Agricultural and Consumer Economics Advisory Board meeting. Before I left, I passed along my appreciation for the important work they do and for the opportunity to serve the university and college.
No matter how many hours or dollars I give to this fine institution, I will never be able to repay what it has given me. As a 4-Her, an undergrad, a JBT scholar, a student worker, an alumnus, and a contributor, I am part of a 150-year legacy of heritage, excellence, and opportunity. As a small-town farm girl with an Illini dream, I will be forever grateful for the Block I logo and all it represents.
We invite you to tell us your ACES story as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the University of Illinois and the College of ACES. Share your story on social media using #ACESstory, or visit 150.illinois.edu.