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Illinois Extension establishes advancement position to further mission

Scott Burnsmier

URBANA, Ill. — A new advancement position for Illinois Extension has been created that will focus on expanding fundraising efforts to further Extension’s land-grant mission of serving the residents of Illinois. Scott Burnsmier has accepted the position of Assistant Director of Advancement, University of Illinois Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Burnsmier brings many years of experience in fundraising, most recently with Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. He is deeply skilled in income development, insurance, and relationship management through a variety of positions held in central Illinois. Working with SHIELD Illinois, an offshoot of the University of Illinois system, from 2021-2023, he interacted with public school administrators, health professionals, and the general public to develop and implement COVID-19 testing and detection protocols at 60 testing locations throughout the state.

“I look forward to his contributions as we expand Extension's fundraising portfolio,” says Shelly Nickols-Richardson, associate dean and director Illinois Extension. “I am confident that he will serve University of Illinois Extension very well and work closely with Angie Barnard, executive director for the 4-H Foundation, and in collaboration with the College of ACES assistant dean for advancement, Kim Bishop, on fundraising strategies.”

Burnsmier has served in a number of volunteer positions, including with 4-H and as a 4-H parent. Scott and his wife, Sandy, are parents to two adult children and became grandparents in July 2023. In his spare time, he volunteers for various organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association's Illinois Chapter Board of Directors, CU @ Home, and the Sangamon Valley CEO program as a mentor to high school students. Additionally, he serves as a mentor/coach for various athletes and military personnel.

Each winter holiday season, Scott serves as Santa on the "Lunch with Santa" train in Monticello. Burnsmier received the Volunteer of the Year Award from First Mid Bank and Trust in 2020, and his favorite saying is, “If service is beneath you, leadership is above you." 

Burnsmier has an associate degree in business management from Parkland College and a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Eastern Illinois University, where he is also pursuing a master's degree. He can be reached at

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.