The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!

We are excited to feature our first nominated professor, Don Meyer from the Department of Agriculture. Meyer was nominated by his students, who wished to remain anonymous.

What is your position within CAST?

I am currently a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and also taught in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences for three years up until this fall. I am a fall 1976 CAST alum from the Department of Agriculture.

Tell us about your career and how you ended up where you are today.

I had a 27-year career as a professional staff member and county director for the University of Illinois Extension program here in McLean County at Bloomington. Within that position, I managed a $2-million-dollar budget annually, supervised (20 plus) full- and part-time staff, and assisted farmers and homeowners with workshops and one on one problem solving in areas of agricultural (including farming), 4-H,  and horticulture topics. I recruited and managed several hundred 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers and regularly wrote news articles and provided radio and television educational programming related to Extension research-based information. I have described my career as having “bookends” with six years of high school agriculture teaching that preceded my Extension work and now with seven years (so far) of university classroom teaching as my finale. In addition to teaching at ISU, I am a Farm Management consultant, licensed farmland real estate broker, and licensed auctioneer affiliated with Lee Realty Group in Bloomington. I like to stay busy! I retired on August 15, 2010, from Extension and began teaching full-time at ISU the next day. In many semesters I have taught more than the normal full-time load of four courses (several semesters at five courses and one semester with six).

I am also a “guest curator” at the McLean County Museum of History and have given three years of volunteer time to a new Farming Gallery with the 200 year history of McLean County Agriculture that will open in March 2017.

You are given a one way ticket anywhere in the world. Where would you go and why?

Honestly, probably nowhere! I have lived in this county my entire life and have no plans outside of it. I would take advantage of “round-trip” tickets for my wife and me as I hope to do additional travelling when things slow down a bit.

Your students are asked to describe you, what do you think they would say?

I would HOPE they would describe me as an educator with passion to “connect” them with the subject matter and who acts professionally, is helpful, fair, friendly, and someone who cares about their future.

What is your favorite part of your job? What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing students in that “moment” when they understand the concepts and connect with the information being presented to them. The most rewarding part of my job would be hearing from successful alums who stay in contact and who appreciate the preparation ISU has given them. I still get that reward even from students I had back in my high school teaching days almost 40 years ago.

Think you know someone who should be featured? Contact us!