Celebrating lifelong friendships

Celebrating lifelong friendships

Aug 12
Meg Cline, Associate Dean of Advancement

Here in the College of ACES, we pride ourselves on the lifelong friendships and relationships that endure for generation after generation of alumni. It is what makes the ACES Family so special and unique.  Recently, I was reminded of the strength of that ACES Family when I had the privilege to tag along with Dr. Tom Frey (ACE Emeritus faculty member) and Dean Warren Wessels (ACES Emeritus Assistant Dean for Academic Programs) to visit a former student  of theirs – Steve Gerdes (ACES ’77). While Steve makes his home in Houston, Texas, as an attorney specializing in the tax aspects of state and local government obligations, each summer he returns to the family farm in Walnut, Illinois, to enjoy a few weeks away from the big city.

I was quite honored to tag along with Dr. Frey and Dean Wessels as they journeyed to Bureau County to reconnect with their former student whom they still to this day recall with great fondness and admiration. Our lunch quickly turned to hours of stories and updates on each other’s life journeys. While much has changed since Dr. Frey and Dean Wessels first became acquainted with Steve, the bonds cemented some 30+ years ago were reignited once again as if not a day had passed.

This story is just one of many I often hear in my travels visiting with alumni and friends. Each has a special story that connected them to the College of ACES and made the “big” U of I” a home-away-from-home, transforming their lives in ways they as students never really imagined possible. I'll let you in on a little secret – I think those students have transformed those faculty members' and administrators' lives in ways they will never forget, too!

So, today, as you reflect on those faculty and administrators who were part of your ACES experience, I hope you might take a moment to reach out and reconnect with them if you are able. You certainly will not regret it.  


Gerdes Frey and Wessels