Excitement surrounds roster of 2021 ACES student awards
Portraits of seven student awards winners
Top row (l to r): Hattie Duncan, Seth Mitchell, and Roxanne Patino. Bottom row (l to r): Isabella Rico, Madalyn Liberman, Samantha Straka, and Zachary Becker.
Nick Wherley
May 13, 2021

URBANA, Ill. – Each year the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign presents top awards to outstanding junior and senior level ACES students. Last week, ACES shared the great news with the 2021 recipients of the Hugh P. Morrison Award, Robert M. Harrison Leadership Award, and Warren K. Wessels Award.  

Hugh P. Morrison Scholarship Award
The winner of the 2021 Hugh P. Morrison Scholarship Award is Hattie Duncan, a senior from Wingate, Indiana. Duncan is majoring in animal sciences with a concentration in food animal production and management, as well as a minor in food and agribusiness management.

This summer, Duncan will begin a graduate program in ACES focusing on cow/calf nutrition. Her career goal is to be a consultant for beef producers by finding proper nutrition solutions in a cost-effective manner.

The Morrison Award is made possible by an endowed gift from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. to the college in honor of Hugh Morrison, a former president of their organization. The earned interest funds a Hugh Morrison Scholarship each spring. Recipients must be a senior in an agricultural curriculum with a strong academic record, evidence of leadership, and a demonstrated commitment to agriculture.

Robert M. Harrison Leadership Award
The winner of the 2021 Robert M. Harrison Leadership Award is Seth Mitchell, a junior from Olney, Illinois. Mitchell is double-majoring in animal sciences and agricultural and consumer economics, with concentrations in food animal production and management, and public policy and law. 

This summer, Mitchell plans to show pigs throughout the state. After graduation, he plans to attend law school and pursue a career in policy and law for the agriculture and livestock industry.

The Harrison Award goes to an outstanding junior in the College of ACES. This award is a memorial tribute to Robert Harrison following his death in 1986. It recognizes a student who demonstrates a commitment for service, achievement, and leadership in a diversity of ways.

Harrison was actively involved in diverse campus activities during his enrollment at the University of Illinois from 1929-1933. He was active in agricultural clubs, Sachem and MaWanda honoraries, and served as senior manager of the 1933 football team. Following his graduation in 1934, he embarked upon a professional career that included employment with the Livestock Bureau of Armour and Company, the War Food Administration, the Rural Electrification Program, and advertising sales with numerous agricultural magazines.

Warren K. Wessels Achievement Award
The winner of the 2021 Warren K. Wessels Achievement Award is Roxanne Patino, a senior from Cicero, Illinois. Patino is majoring in human development and family studies, and community health.

This summer Patino will work in health education and diversity recruitment as part of the McKinley Peer Education Program—Special Populations, which supports student health and wellness through peer education. As part of McKinley’s Health Education Unit, Patino is committed to raising awareness on campus about multi-cultural health, including the health disparities certain populations experience.

The Wessels Award goes to a graduating senior. Warren K. Wessels (1929-2018) was an assistant dean in the University of Illinois College of Agriculture for 36 years from 1958-1994. During that time he worked with thousands of students as recruitment coordinator, orientation class instructor, and placement director. His encouragement for excellence; demanding, yet fun-loving personality; and sense of commitment to each individual student was well known.

Selection of the Wessels Award recipient is based on scholarship, leadership record, participation in professional development activities, and contribution to the overall quality of life within the College of ACES. Finalists for the award included: Isabella Rico, Madalyn Liberman, Samantha Straka, and Zachary Becker.