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June 2011 newsletter

ACE Newsletter

Message from the Head:

Summer brings a change of pace for ACE faculty and staff. Although teaching responsibilities are lower, faculty and staff are working tirelessly on research projects and grant proposals in addition to delivering numerous presentations to our stakeholders. We are also registering 147 new undergraduate students to ACE. 

I want to welcome Theresa Miller to ACE. She joined ACE in March 2011 as the marketing and recruiting coordinator. Theresa also is an academic advisor and coordinates this newsletter. She brings substantial experiences and talents to the Department.

In this issue we highlight a student activity, acknowledge the many awards of our students, faculty and staff, mourn the loss of a former faculty member, and reflect on a distinguished career of a former professor.

I hope you enjoy the newsletter and our new web site (

Dr. Paul Ellinger, Head
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

U of Illinois returns to National NAMA Student Competition

NAMA UI Chapter at Nationals

After a 15-year lapse, students from Agricultural and Consumer Economics prepared and competed in the National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) Student Product Marketing Competition this past April.

The team of 10 students worked for four months creating a business plan, marketing scheme, and product brand for a new product, imaginary product, or developing a marketing scheme to market an existing product into a new area. The team competed with a field of more than 30 other universities from across the country and Canada.

The marketing competition is a large part of the NAMA annual meeting held each spring for the more than 1,300 student chapter members and 1,500 professional members. Students who participate in the competition make important professional contacts with leaders in agribusiness and network with fellow students.

The Illinois team presented a plan for the iLid, a remote-operated grain bin lid opener. The team developed a logo, brand identity, formulated a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, analyzed market size, created a business plan, marketing plan, budget and evaluation for their product for a three-year timespan. They presented their proposal in a 20-minute program to a panel of professional judges.

“I learned a great deal about how a product goes from concept to execution,” said Zach Orwig, ACE Sophomore from Avon, IL. “It was a great experience not only to work on the project, but to be a part of the national competition and meet professionals from NAMA.”

The U of I student NAMA chapter will continue to work on the national product competition and have meetings on industry awareness and career development. If alumni are interested in assisting the chapter, please contact Theresa Miller (email:

Student Achievement

ACE student awards were given at the ACES Student Awards Banquet on April 30 on campus. The following ACE students were recognized:
Bronze Tablet recipients rank in the top 3 percent of their graduating class:  Elias Klokkenga, Emden, IL
ACE Slam Dunk Award: Elias Klokkenga, Emden, IL
C.J. Elliott Award for Outsanding Graduating Senior in ACE: Bradley Pilcher, Paxton, IL
Warren K. Wessels Achievement Award:
Award Recipient: Elias Klokkenga, Emden, IL
Finalist: George Witchek, Bensenville, IL

2011 College of ACES and Paul A. Funk Awards:

Faculty and staff in ACES are annually honored at the annual College of ACES Paul Funk Awards Program, which was held this year on April 24, 2011 in Urbana. Members of ACE receiving recognition included:
John Braden – Spitze Land-Grant Professorial Career Excellence Award
Gary Schnitkey – Faculty Award for Excellence in Extension
pERE Team - Team Award for Excellence (Amy Ando, Kathy Baylis, John Braden, Richard Brazee, Nick Brozovic, Don Fullerton, Geoffrey Hewings, Madhu Khanna, Hayri Onal)
Sahan T. M. Dissanayake – Louis V. Logeman Graduate Student Teaching Award

Other Awards

Andrea Beller - Stewart M. Lee Consumer Education Award from the American Council on Consumer Interests.
Alex Winter-Nelson – Teacher Fellow Award Recipient from North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA)
Sahan Dissanayake - Graduate College Teaching Award from North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA)
Meredith Blumthal+ Outstanding Advisor Award from the ACES Student Council

ACE Awards

Outstanding Graduate Student – Sahan Dissanayake & Yusuke Kuwayama
Outstanding PhD Dissertation – Xiaoguang Chen
Honorable Mention PhD Dissertation – Lisa Bordey
Outstanding MS Thesis – Christopher Lanoue
Honorable Mention MS Thesis – Shanila Islam
ACE Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Outstanding Faculty – Carl Nelson
ACE Graduate Student Organization (GSO)Outstanding Staff – Donna Stites
Earl M. Hughes Teaching Enhancement – Amy Ando

ACE Teachers Rated as Excellent in Fall, 2010:

Amy Ando, ACE 516
Mary Arends-Kuenning, ACE 570
Nick Brozovic, ACE 100
Ann Finnegan, ACE 340
Rafael Garduno Rivera, TA for ACE 251
Ross Hanig, TA for ACE 100
Alex Lo, ACE 161
Paul Ellinger, ACE 447
Bryan Endres, ACE 306
Mindy Mallory, ACE 520
Hayri Onal, ACE 594
Nick Paulson, ACE 345
Divinia Rodriguez, TA for ACE 100
Paul Stoddard, ACE 222

Jeanne Hafstrom

Jeanne Louise Hafstrom, a former Associate Professor of Family and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois passed away at the age of 81 on May 18, 2011 at the Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana.

She was born on July 28, 1929 in Rensselaer, Indiana to Harlin and Margaret Hafstrom.  Her family includes one sister- Karen Hafstrom of Chicago, 2 nieces and 1 cousin.

Jeanne has been publishing information about consumer credit, life insurance decisions, teaching children about money, and budgeting since 1970.   Jeanne received a B.S. in Home Economics in 1958, M.S. in Home Economics in 1963 and a Ph.D. in Human Resources and Family Studies in 1971, all from the University of Illinois.  She was a member of the faculty of the Family and Consumer Economics Department, and served as its chair in 1979, and as well from 1988-1989. 

Cremation rites have been accorded and memorials may be directed to the Kankakee YMCA.

Where are they now? Harold Guither

Harold Guither has been at the University of Illinois since 1946. Guither grew up on a farm in Northern Illinois. After earning a B.S. and M.S. from Illinois, he worked in St. Louis for six years with Doane Agricultural Service. Guither returned to the University in 1956 to work in the office of Agricultural Communications. While there, he earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics.

Guither then spent 1964 to 1966 in Jordan as a program leader for a University of Illinois-USAID contract. When he returned he joined the Department of Agricultural Economics as an assistant professor. Guither’s main areas of interest were policy education and agricultural policy. He led Extension programs, held research appointments, and taught.

Guither’s impressive publication history includes numerous books, chapters of books, and hundreds of journal articles. His book entitled Animal Rights: History and Scope of a Radical Social Movement has earned him substantial recognition. Published in 1998, the book focuses on the major animal welfare and animal rights groups. The book explores the consequences of the animal rights movement for food animal producers and those who use animals in scientific research, sport, and entertainment.

After Guither retired in 1995, he spent three years as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He continued to be involved at Illinois by teaching an honors course for two semesters based on his research on the animal rights movement and as a program leader for the University’s tax school.

Outside of the University, Guither wrote a policy issues column for a regional farm newspaper and he wrote the 75-year history of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Currently, he is writing the centennial history of the Champaign County Farm Bureau, which will cover 1913 to 2012.

Guither also remains active in the community. He has worked as an election judge, volunteered with the Carle Hospital Auxiliary and at his local church, and has travelled with his wife to Mexico, South America, Europe, and many parts of the United States.

During his extensive career, Guither most fondly remembers his sabbatical work at the USDA in Washington D.C. and in Extension programs related to agricultural policy. “I worked with some of the top professional Extension policy educators across the Midwest,” he said. “It was a great experience and we put out some publications that were looked at significantly.”

Overall, the University has had a large impact on Guither’s life. He said, “It’s impacted my whole adult career, from the time I was a student, the people I met, the people who were my instructors, the people who saw the possibilities to invite me back to the staff, and the people who moved me from one assignment to another while I was here.”

Guither is proud of his work at the University of Illinois and the many contributions he has made during his long-tenured career.

ACE Newsletter

In This Issue


Research and Outreach


Contact Us

Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Dr. Paul N. Ellinger
Head of Department

326 Mumford Hall
1301 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801-3605
Phone: (217)333-1810
Fax: (217)333-5538