Jim Evans Named ISA 2011 Excellence in Communications Honoree

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Jim Evans, retired agricultural communications professor from the University of Illinois and mentor to some 900 graduates in the field, was named the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) 2011 Excellence in Communications honoree today.  He helped establish and strengthen academic programs in agricultural communications at universities worldwide, and continues to work with students as an informal faculty advisor.

"I first knew Jim Evans and his wife, Marlene, as house advisors at dances and other house functions when I was at Farmhouse Fraternity in the mid-1960s at the University of Illinois," says Ed Mies, ISA director and soybean farmer from Loami, Ill.  "Jim has shaped so many lives since through the university and through other agriculture programs."  

Evans joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1962 after six years of professional experience in farm broadcast journalism, public information and agricultural advertising.  His education includes a bachelor's degree in agricultural journalism from Iowa State University, a master of business administration degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD in communications from the University of Illinois.  He served as head of the Office of Agricultural Communications and Education from 1985 until retirement in 1995.  

Today he serves as a volunteer staff associate in the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, an international resource and service based in the University of Illinois Library.  The center contains more than 36,000 documents involving agriculture-related communications in more than 170 countries. It is believed to be the largest electronically searchable collection available in the subject.  He also has a small family popcorn enterprise.

Evans has received the Outstanding University of Illinois Instructor Award, Paul A. Funk Award for high achievement in working for the betterment of agriculture, Abraham Lincoln National Agriculture Award for outstanding achievement in American agriculture, Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from Chicago Farmers, Honorary Master Farmer and Service Award from the International Association of Agricultural Communicators in Education.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers.  The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit: