New Ag Communications position needs funding

Named for internationally-known leader in the field, the James F. Evans Endowed Chair will give future Ag communications students more opportunities

To ensure ample training for future professionals in agricultural communications, the University of Illinois is raising funds for the Dr. James F. Evans Endowed Chair in Agricultural Communications.
            Jim Evans, a well-known figure in agriculture for his lifetime of teaching communications, has had a powerful and lasting effect on his students. He has been recognized internationally for his exceptional academic credentials and nationally recognized for his leadership in an agricultural communications program.
            Evans’ students have landed in every imaginable agricultural communications venue and greatly contributed to the industry.
            As opportunities continue to emerge for agricultural communicators to solve global challenges, there is also a great need for educational opportunities to train future generations.
            Dynamic new media channels are redefining the field of communications. Rising agricultural communicators need more experiences with the Web and media fragmentation, as instant access to the news creates a need for special communications professionals. These special communications professionals need a deep knowledge of agriculture and the skill set to evolve and thrive in this ever-changing media environment.
            “Professional communicators have to be key partners with the agriculture science professionals – we need to use professional communicators to translate complicated issues into accurate, understandable language for the rest of us,” says Evans.

Campaign begins
Efforts to raise funds for the James F. Evans Endowed Chair in Agricultural Communications kicked off on November 8, 2008, in Champaign, IL.
            This first-of-its-kind endowed chair in agricultural communications will not only provide resources to undergraduate students at the University of Illinois, but also will support teaching and research. The University plans to provide support for three teaching positions, including enhanced opportunities for graduate studies.
            With this enhanced agricultural communications program, students will have more opportunity in terms of admissions, courses, learning resources, scholarships, student organizations, advisement and placement services, student awards, alumni status and student representation.
            The James F. Evans Endowed Chair in Agricultural Communications requires contributions totaling $2 million to become a reality.  Endowed chair programs work from the interest earned on the principle balance.
            If you have spent your career helping others understand the role agriculture plays in the world, or if you have benefited from a successful career in agricultural communications, then this is your opportunity to give back. Your support is needed for this program to become a reality.
            Please consider a $5,000, $10,000, $25,000 or more gift to the James F. Evans Endowed Chair in Agricultural Communications. You may make a gift through a multi-year pledge or through your estate.
            To make a gift, please contact Louise Rogers at elrogers(at)illinois.edu or 217-333-9355 or make your gift online at advancement.aces.uiuc.edu/endowments-evans            

By Karlie Elliott, University of Illinois