The Department of Agriculture was at peak enrollment when Randy Winter joined the faculty in 1981. Having completed his doctorate in ag business and economics at Oregon State University, he settled back in his home state with his wife, Carol ’11.

“That first semester I taught farm management, ag finance and ag policy,” Winter recalled. Those were his areas of expertise throughout his teaching career, which he pursued after growing up on a farm. In 1993, he transitioned to department chair while still teaching.

“I had a long faculty run,” Winter said. He considers watching students launch their careers and succeed the most rewarding aspect of university employment.

Winter chaired the department for 11 years. Among his most significant accomplishments was transitioning the University Farm to Lexington. “That was one of my major goals to get accomplished during my tenure,” he said. The effort required special legislation to sell land and reinvest the funds. He was also a key player in efforts to stop the Illinois Board of Higher Education from cutting the department in 1992, and helped establish the Center for Renewable Energy.

His service to ISU includes a two-year term as interim chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“They both had different rewards and challenges. It would be difficult to say that I enjoyed one function over the other,” Winter said of his teaching and leadership duties.

Winter calls Normal home. He enjoys golf, home improvement projects and traveling. He frequently visits his three children—all ISU alums—and two grandchildren. He can be reached at