Key Donor-Funded Programs and Projects

Philanthropic contributions to the College of ACES have influenced the past 150 years of learning opportunities, ground-breaking research, and public outreach. Investments, many of them long-term, in facilities, programs, and people have positively impacted students, faculty, and the people of Illinois and around the world. These are a sample of the positive outcomes of transformational gifts from individuals, groups, and corporate partners. Now more than ever before, private and perpetual financial support is essential to ensuring land-grant universities continue to be places where progress and innovation can flourish. 


The College of ACES attracts smart, accomplished students preparing to become leaders in their fields. The Jonathan Baldwin Turner (JBT) Scholarship program recognizes these students’ merit, leadership potential, and commitment to a College of ACES field of study. Since 1979, the JBT Scholarship has influenced students’ decision to attend the University of Illinois College of ACES.

In addition to the financial support, the JBT Scholarship program comes with the prestigious honor of being named a JBT Scholar. This recognition is respected throughout the industry, providing these students additional leverage in securing the first step in their rise to career success. 

The college also awards numerous other named scholarships. In total, the college provides $3.5 million in student scholarships annually, making a University of Illinois education accessible to more students.


The College of ACES Library, Information, and Alumni Center (LIAC) opened in 2001 and serves as a hub and connection point for the ACES community. The Funk Library and computer laboratories support student learning in an open, inviting environment. Meeting and study rooms offer student organizations and class groups space for collaboration and connectivity, even reaching beyond campus with distance technology. ACES Career Services greets potential employers to interact with ACES top talent for internships and employment. This jewel of the ACES campus welcomes back alumni for fellowship and continued engagement.

The ACES LIAC is the culmination of decades of dedication from alumni and friends of the College of ACES. The generous contributions of the Isaac and Cassandra Funk family, Dick and the late Sally McFarland, and Russell and Florence Odell, combined with gifts of hundreds of other friends, provided the $10.5 million of private support needed to secure a $10.5 million match from the state of Illinois. 


With ambition, creativity, and passion, the College of ACES is finding solutions to feeding the world. The ADM Institute (ADMI) for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss was established in 2011 with a $10 million gift from the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company to improve the livelihood of farmers in developing countries. 

ADMI supports applied research conducted by accomplished faculty seeking to transform supply chains, improve market functionality, and build capacity for farmers and communities. Although the ADMI is headquartered on campus, this work is happening in collaboration with partners and institutions around the globe. 

Education is essential to preventing postharvest loss. ADMI provides a free online course available to learners around the globe. Visitors often come to campus for training programs and ADMI offers seminars and presentations both on campus and abroad. In order to continue to build change in post-harvest loss and global hunger, ADMI offers experiential learning and student training through study abroad, specialized courses, and internships.

ADMI also strives to build awareness of the challenges and opportunities of postharvest loss reduction. Similarly, ADMI engages with decisionmakers and stakeholders to influence action steps for loss prevention. 


An unrestricted gift from Arlys Conrad allows the College of ACES to imagine possibilities, creating opportunities in education, research, and outreach. The flexibility of Conrad’s gift allows college leadership to identify areas for impactful investment. 

Conrad possessed a particular passion for international travel. To honor that passion while meeting significant need in the college, ACES leadership directed the income from the endowment fund to assist students with the expenses of study abroad. Because of the Conrad fund, these value-added international learning opportunities are accessible to all interested students. Additionally, the ACES Global Academy, also supported by Conrad, provides opportunities for faculty to deepen their international partnerships. These collaborations enrich the research being done to address global issues affecting humankind. 


There is an ever-increasing need to effectively communicate about sound science, agricultural advancements, environmental effects, and food production. The Agricultural Communications program is preparing the next generation of professionals to tell these stories. 

It is essential to attract and retain faculty who are outstanding in their fields to conduct ground-breaking research, while provided the best education to students. The James F. Evans Chair provides perpetual funding in support of a leader for the agricultural communications program at the University of Illinois, while also launching a ripple effect throughout the food and agriculture industry. 

The first-of-its-kind endowed chair in agricultural communications not only strengthens the undergraduate academic program, it also supports teaching and research in the field. Further, the students prepared in this program become influencers in their communities and beyond. The $2-million chair is funded by numerous organizations, companies and individuals. 


Farmland values and investment have significant influence on the agricultural industry and affiliated businesses. A $5-million commitment from TIAA allowed the University of Illinois to bolster its strong history in farmland investment research.

The TIAA contribution provided for physical space, faculty salaries, and programmatic support for the TIAA Center for Farmland Research. The presence of this center has strengthened University of Illinois’ ability to produce valuable applied information in this field and provide it to the individuals and businesses it impacts. The center serves as a globally recognized resource for research and tools for farmland purchase and management. Agricultural technology companies are turning to the center to gather information as they develop their services and products. 

With more emphasis on international farmland, the center is expanding to explore global markets. Using a holistic approach, upcoming research will have even more relevance to world-hunger issues. Faculty are currently being called upon to share expertise about farmland values around the world. 

The center also partners with and supports farmdoc, the university’s widely read online research program on the agricultural sector. Both producers and agricultural businesses employ farmdoc in their operations. 


The best and brightest researchers and educators are in high demand. Chairs and professorships are instrumental in attracting and retaining top faculty. When top researchers at Illinois work together to solve the world’s biggest challenges, we all benefit. Students learn from the best in their field. The people of Illinois receive valuable information about living healthier, longer, more productive lives. Those around the globe can improve their communities, giving humanity a step up. 

The College of ACES is home to 20 faculty chairs and professorships. These range in area of emphasis from nutrition to plant breeding to agricultural policy. Additionally, planned bequests will establish three additional chairs in the future. A named chair requires a minimum $2-million endowment and a named professorship/scholar requires a minimum $500,000 endowment.


In the spirit of the land-grant mission, Doris Kelley Christopher Hall provides a unique setting for collaborative research, education, and outreach, strengthening families, often under the most challenging conditions. Doris Kelley Christopher Hall and the programs it houses have elevated the social science discipline at Illinois. Faculty appreciate the way in which Christopher Hall encourages collaborative research with meeting spaces in which to build ideas. The research home in Christopher Hall has been transformative in the ability to conduct family-centered research in a realistic setting. 

Located on the edge of campus, Christopher Hall is a welcoming environment for the larger community. Families, often reeling from diagnoses or challenging circumstances, can easily access outreach programs and resources housed within Christopher Hall. Undergraduate and graduate students gain first-hand experiences conducting transdisciplinary research and staffing outreach programs. Classroom space provides updated technology and flexible spaces promoting student interactions. This building was made possible by a gift from Doris Kelley Christopher, founder of Pampered Chef. 


The College of ACES Annual Fund is imperative to fulfilling the land-grant mission. Gifts to the annual fund create value-added educational experiences for students by opening doors to experiential learning and professional development. The annual fund often supplements named scholarship funds, creating financial accessibility for potential ACES students. 

Experiential Learning – Taking students beyond the classroom, including international opportunities, enriches their learning experience and exposes them to the world they will enter after graduation. This component of their ACES education prepares them for successful careers. 

Student Programs – Nearly 40 organizations and additional collegewide leadership programs provide students with opportunities to network, learn about careers, and contribute to the life of the college and community as a whole. Projects, programs, conferences and other opportunities often require additional financial support made possible by gifts to the College of ACES Annual Fund.

Teaching enhancement – Part of providing students with the best education possible is also ensuring instructors continue to grow and adapt. Educational technology and practice continue to evolve and improve. We must keep pace. 

The College of ACES provides numerous opportunities for teaching professionals to learn about, explore, and adapt new approaches in the classroom and beyond. Symposium, workshops, and the addition of technological teaching tools requires financial support, made possible through the College of ACES Annual Fund.