Preparations for the Agriculture Department’s 100th anniversary in 2011 have already begun. The year will be marked by special events, as well as an effort to raise $400,000 through the “100 x 100 Centennial Celebration.”

The goal is to obtain $100,000 in support for each of four areas alumni and faculty have identified as critical in moving the department into the next century. These include the Horticulture Center, student scholarships, the Illinois State University Farm at Lexington, and special projects such as a computer laboratory and student travel.

“I have great hope we’ll be successful. I have a lot of faith in ag alums,” College of Applied Science and Technology Dean Jeff Wood said. He noted there are more than 5,000 in the Agriculture Alumni Association, which formed in 1979 as the first departmental alumni association on campus.

“I’ve seen them organize themselves around ag issues before. Here’s an initiative I’d like to see them rally around that’s a good thing,” Wood said.

Information about anniversary events are available online at To learn more about the “100 x 100 Centennial Celebration,” contact Development Director Dorothy Witte at (309) 438-3134 or by e-mail at Donations may be made online by going to

“We need alums to be passionate about their alma mater,” Wood said. “We need their support, not just financial but in terms of providing opportunities for students, helping to open doors to internships, networking, serving as guest speakers, and on the advisory board. It’s a very important relationship.”