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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Register as a 4-H alum during National 4-H Week

What do Chancellor Robert J. Jones, Coach John Groce, Philanthropist Lila Jeanne Eichelberger, Professor Bruce Fouke, Voice of the Illini Brian Barnhart, and I all have in common? We were 4-H members and can trace where we are now to the lessons we learned in 4-H.

In Chancellor Jones' welcome address, he pledged to uphold the mission of the land-grant mission which created Extension and 4-H. "The land-grant mission is in my blood, and I am a proud product of it," Jones said. "And as chancellor at Illinois, one of the original land grants established by the Morrill Act, I have the opportunity to help ensure that my experience is one that any student can have in this century of higher education."

Each 4-H alum has their own unique story. 4-H camp, public speaking contest, club officer elections, national trips, county fairs, and beloved 4-H club leaders; your 4-H memories helped make you the person you are today.

We'd like to hear the story of all the folks on campus who are 4-H alum, and give you a 4-H alumni t-shirt to celebrate your 4-H heritage. There's no better time to relive 4-H than during National 4-H Week Oct. 2-8. Go online @ and complete a short survey. Then, drop by 101 Mumford Hall and pick up your t-shirt. It's that simple. The invitation is open to all current University of Illinois staff, faculty, and students.

My memory? It would have to be my 4-H leader, Phyllis Schultz. I learned to sew and cook and speak and lead from Phyllis. I can feel her breath on my neck still today as she leaned over you at the sewing machine and watched you stitch each seam. When needed, she handed you the seam ripper, and you got to do it all over again. She encouraged me during my first speech as I showed my club how to make shaken pudding.

She was a living example of hard work and selfless giving; a lesson I try to live daily. Even as cancer stole her health, she kept working. She never gave up. So I "4-H" for her. I 4-H for the first generation families who need to learn the lessons I've learned. I 4-H for my community, country and world.

I have the best job in the world because every day, I bring people to 4-H. Be sure to register as a 4-H alum and share your 4-H story.


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.