College of ACES
College News

College of ACES Honors

Published April 23, 2003
April 24, 2003

DO NOT USE BEFORE 10 P.M., APRIL 24

URBANA—A plant pathology researcher and teacher, an agricultural economist who has served in over 35 countries, and a internationally-recognized soybean molecular biologist will receive the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Science’s (ACES) prestigious Paul A. Funk Recognition Awards April 24 at the college’s annual awards banquet. Other awards will go to College of ACES alumni, faculty, and staff for achievement and contributions.

“The awards to be presented are part of a celebration of outstanding achievement,” said Robert A. Easter, dean of the College of ACES. “Since its inception in 1971, the Funk Award has been presented to over 100 faculty in the College. This year, we will inaugurate a new award, the Spitze Land-Grant Professorial Career Excellence Award and will also honor for ACES Alumni Association Award of Merit recipients.”

Easter noted the College’s appreciation of the Funk family and the Paul A. Funk Foundation for laying the groundwork for this recognition program and their continuing and generous support.

The Funk Awards recognize outstanding professional achievement and major contributions to the betterment of agriculture broadly defined. This year’s recipients are: Cleora J. D’Arcy, a member of the faculty since 1978 who has excelled in teaching and research in the Department of Crop Sciences; Burton E. Swanson, who since joining the U of I in 1975 has carried out more than 80 assignments in 35 different countries and been recognized internationally for his work; and Lila O. Vodkin, an expert teacher and researcher in soybean genomics who recently was selected to head a $5 million National Science Foundation grant that involves five universities.

The ACES Alumni Association annual honors four College graduates who have made significant contributions to their chosen professions and to the human sciences and food and natural resources industries. This year’s recipients are: David L. Chicoine, former dean of the College of ACES and now U of I vice president for economic development and corporate relations who received his Ph.D. in the College; Samuel A. Meers, who founded Meers Marketing Communications, Inc., of Kansas City, MO; Lawrence D. Muller, a professor of dairy science at Pennsylvania State University; and Randy L. Sims, a Liberty farmer who is a leading spokesperson for Illinois’s livestock industry.

Created by the U of I Foundation Robert G.F. Spitze Educational Fund and the Hazel Taylor Spitze Educational Fund, the Spitze Award is presented to encourage and recognize the professional career of tenured faculty in their performance and commitment to teaching and advising, research and publications, extension and public service, faculty governance, and participation in professional associations. The first recipient of the award is John W. Dudley, who holds the Renessen Endowed Chair in Corn Quality Trait Breeding and Genetics in the Department of Crop Sciences.

A number of awards will also be presented in the areas of teaching, research and extension. Keith W. Singletary, who directs the Functional Foods for Health program in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, will receive the senior faculty award for excellence in research. Rodney W. Johnson, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, will receive the college faculty award for excellence in research.

The senior faculty award for excellence in teaching will go to Gary J. King, an associate professor of horticulture in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Prasanta K. Kalita, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Engineering, will receive the college faculty award for excellence in teaching.

Emerson D. Nafziger, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Crop Sciences, is the recipient of the senior faculty award for excellence in Extension. Raymond A. Cloyd, an assistant professor and Extension specialist in floriculture in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, will receive the college award for excellence in Extension.

The Carl E. Gardner Outstanding Undergraduate Adviser Award will be presented to Michael C. Hirschi, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Engineering. Tom Carr, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences will receive the Clyde and Henrietta Downey Spitler Teaching Award.

A multi-disciplinary group that attacked the western corn rootworm problem will receive the College’s Team Award for Excellence. Members are: Mark R. Band, direction of functional genomics; Michael E. Gray, professor and associate head of the Department of Crop Sciences; Scott A. Isard, professor, Department of Geography; Eli Levine, scientist, Illinois Natural History Survey; Harris A. Lewin, professor of immunogenetics and director of the U of I’s Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics; Lei Liu, scientist, National Center for Supercomputing Applications; David W. Onstad, associate professor, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences; Susan T. Ratcliffe, Extension specialist, Department of Crop Sciences; Hugh M. Robertson, professor, Department of Entomology; and Joseph L. Spencer, scientist, Illinois Natural History Survey.

Robert W. Frazee, a U of I Extension natural resource management educator based in East Peoria, and Jane A. Scherer, Extension urban programming specialist based in Urbana, will receive professional staff awards for sustained excellence. Karen M. Chan, an Extension educator in consumer and family economics in northeastern Illinois, and Ted L. Funk, an Extension specialist in the Department of Agricultural Engineering, will be honored for innovation and creativity as members of the professional staff.

The Marcella M. Nance Award is given each year to one of the three recipients of the Staff Award for Excellence. Earning this year’s Nance Award is Douglas A. Hilgendorf, who manages the U of I’s dairy herd. Other awards for excellence go to Jerry L. Chandler, a crop-testing specialist in the Department of Crop Sciences, and Barbara J. Vandeventer, who provides secretarial support to 23 faculty in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

Graduate Student Research Awards will be presented to: Heather R. Burkin and Ignacio Ipharraguerre, both students in the Department of Animal Sciences. The Louis V. Logeman Graduate Student Teaching Award will go to Jeff Bunting, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Crop Sciences, and Ani Yazedjian, a graduate student in the Department of Human and Community Development . -30-