With Illinois campaign wraps up, but giving continues

Five people hold shovels and break ground for the Doris Kelley Christopher Illinois Extension Center
Breaking ground on the Doris Kelley Christopher Illinois Extension Center

"With Illinois" is the most ambitious philanthropic endeavor in the history of the University of Illinois, raising $2.7 billion from October 2017 to June 2022. A celebration was held on October 14, 2022, to showcase the transformational power of gifts accrued during the campaign. 

But the story doesn’t end there. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences surpassed its $200 million campaign goal 18 months ahead of schedule — and since then has continued to raise millions more to support our land-grant institution’s mission. 

“Our college strengthens the fabric of our society from sustainable food and energy production to mental health resources and environmental conservation,” said Germán Bollero, dean of the College of ACES. “Gifts to our college are helping us give back through our education, research, and outreach efforts.”  

During the campaign, ACES reached 11,253 first-time donors and created 309 new funds supporting scholarships, fellowships, and faculty positions. The impact of gifts given to ACES can be seen across the college, particularly in critical infrastructure.

“To carry out our mission, our college furnishes hundreds of acres of research plots, herds of livestock and flocks of poultry, processing facilities and technologies centers, and much more in addition to more traditional lab and computing spaces,” Bollero said. “Donor support is critical to maintaining, upgrading, and expanding upon these facilities — we are continually amazed by the support for tangible structures and technologies that make our work possible.”

While this campaign may have concluded, it’s not too late to be a part of the success story, said ACES Assistant Dean for Advancement Kimberly Bishop. “Gifts received during the With Illinois Campaign are helping the College of ACES build on past successes, overcome barriers, and reach for new horizons — but there is always more work to be done, and continued support is needed to realize our vision for the future.

Learn more about some of the spaces supported by the With Illinois Campaign:

Feed Technology Center

The Feed Technology Center opened in the summer of 2021 and is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to advancing feed technology and animal nutrition in partnership with the grain, livestock, companion animal, and feed industries. Located just south of campus, the $20 million and nearly 12,000 square-foot facility features cutting-edge equipment and software capable of producing specialized small-batch research diets. More than 20 companies, commodity groups, and private individuals donated funds or equipment to the project as part of a unique public-private funding model, fast-tracking the build after decades of planning.

Read more about the Feed Technology Center

Future Christopher Illinois Extension Center

The Doris Kelley Christopher Illinois Extension Center will serve as the future home of Illinois Extension, uniting six state Extension offices currently on campus into one vibrant, welcoming space. The center—which will be integrated into the open spaces of the Arboretum—will serve as a bridge between discovery research conducted at the university and the translation of that work into communities around the state and beyond through Extension and 4-H. The planned center, set to open in the summer of 2026, is made possible by a $45 million gift from revered Illinois alumna and Pampered Chef founder Doris Kelley Christopher.

Read more about the Doris Kelley Christopher Illinois Extension Center

Center for Digital Agriculture

The Center for Digital Agriculture is a multidisciplinary effort between The Grainger College of Engineering, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications that provides novel experimental research facilities, such as the Illinois Autonomous Farm and the “farm of the future” — where researchers will be able to develop and evaluate novel AI, sensor, data, and computing capabilities to achieve improved yields, profitability, and sustainability.

Read more about the Center for Digital Agriculture

Red Oak Rain Garden

The Red Oak Rain Garden is a 10,000-square-foot demonstration site that educates the public about sustainable garden design and exemplary rainwater management on campus. The garden is managed by Illinois Extension and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant with volunteer support from the Champaign County Master Gardeners and East Central Illinois Master Naturalists. Several private gifts supported the 2019 renovation of the garden. Drs. Michael and Karen Folk created a maintenance endowment to ensure the garden's prosperity.

Read more about the Red Oak Rain Garden

Child Development Laboratory (CDL)

The Child Development Laboratory (CDL) program is a licensed and accredited play-based, developmentally appropriate, child-centered, teacher-designed early care and education program housed in a laboratory school setting, serving infants, toddlers, and younger preschool children. Today, faculty and students from over 20 programs and departments across campus access the CDL as part of their teaching, research, and outreach activities. A generous gift from Nann Armstrong helped CDL build a new playground.

Read more about the Child Development Laboratory

Stock Pavilion

The University of Illinois Stock Pavilion was constructed in 1913 for judging and studying livestock. Over the past decade, the Stock Pavilion has been reinvigorated and renovated thanks to private funds from the Baader Family. Reproductions of the original animal head medallions were added to the southern exterior of the building with support from the John N. Chester Estate Endowment. A bronzed statue of the world-famous steer, Broadus White Socks, was recently installed near the south entrance of the Stock Pavilion. Funds from the Baaders, the John N. Chester Estate Endowment, and Brad and Charlyn Ware made the statue possible.

Read more about the Baader Family's support