Leaders, Lifters, Celebrities… Alumni

Leaders, Lifters, Celebrities… Alumni

Apr 17
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

Red carpet, paparazzi, celebrities… it sounds like the Grammy’s doesn’t it? Pretty much.

On Monday, I had the privilege of hosting one of the ACES Award of Merit winners, Tami Craig Schilling. I first met Tami on a visit to Monsanto as a sophomore and again at the Agricultural Communications Symposium. She is one of those people who is full of enthusiasm that automatically makes you want to get to know her.

Spending the entire day being Tami’s host was by far one of the best experiences of my college career. Listening and watching her interact with students, faculty, staff and others was awesome. I was obviously a huge fan of Tami’s before the day even started, but I think I learned a lot as the day unfolded. I learned that Tami’s story was unique. As a child she did not want to be involved in agriculture and was forced to be an FFA member by her father. She said looking back that was a turning point that led her to a career in agriculture and a second turning point that led her to agricultural communications was meeting Dr. Jim Evans. Looking back at the reasons that I decided to major in agricultural communications, I can say that they are exactly the same: FFA and Dr. Evans.

At the Award of Merit luncheon, each award winner gave an acceptance speech and the common theme seemed to be ‘thanking those who shaped you and helped you along the way.’ As I listened to the award winners thank professors, bosses, mentors, friends and family; I thought of whom I would thank if I were in that position and the list was endless. 

After this experience, I will never look at the stairs of Mumford Hall the same way. I will always think of those who walked before me and helped to create those grooved and worn stairs. They’re special because the people who I would thank have walked those stairs: alumni, professors, advisors, mentors, bosses, and friends.

I think there is one easy way to sum up the people I met on Monday: “Leaders are lifters. They push the thinking of their teammates beyond old boundaries of creativity. They improve people’s confidence in themselves and others. Leaders are able to lift a team to a higher level than it has ever reached before.” – John Maxwell

Ellen Reeder and Tami Schilling