The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect

Apr 18
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

In the pond of life, we don’t always realize the long-term ripple effects of what we might see as a simple, small gesture. In fact, it may be years before we see the actual impact on someone else or realize someone dropped a stone in our personal pond that made all the difference. 

Earlier this week, the College of ACES Alumni Association honored four outstanding alumni with the Award of Merit. During the awards luncheon they each shared comments about their achievements, personal perspectives, and those who impacted them. 

Although Donna Greene, Robert Gustafson, Scott McAdam and James Shearl all come from varied backgrounds, I noticed a commonality as they spoke. They each noted a particular person or event that they still credit with influencing their success. For one, it dated back to attending a presentation by Roscoe Pershing to high school students about agricultural engineering. Another noted Warren Wessels’ strong advice to change majors. (Side note – I think many credit Warren Wessels with dropping a stone in their pond!) A graduate school scholarship, made possible from the gift of a farm to the University of Illinois, was a critical opportunity for one individual. Finally, an instructor, Mildred Briggs, was mentioned by one other. 

At what is sometimes considered a big University, it’s the pebbles that are dropped in ponds that start the ripples of success for College of ACES graduates. What ripple will you start today? Will you reach out to a fellow student with an opportunity to lead a registered student organization? Will you open a research project to an undergraduate student? Will you give a gift that will provide a scholarship or other funding for many years to come? Or will you find your own special way of creating a ripple that can change lives?