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Illinois dean to discuss food, agriculture in Wiswell-Robeson Lecture

Duane Bonifer
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Food and agriculture will be discussed at the third annual Wiswell-Robeson Lecture at Monmouth College.

Kim Kidwell, dean of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, will speak about “Food and Agriculture” at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the College’s Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Her talk is free and open to the public.

“My intent is to take you on a journey of discovery, learning and transformation,” Kidwell said. “We will look back and look forward, focusing on science-based innovation, the role of land-grant higher education and the extraordinary opportunities to shape the world in agriculture, food and community, from seed to soul.”

The first woman appointed to lead Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Kidwell is a nationally respected scholar and award-winning teacher.

In her role as dean, Kidwell has focused on improving student learning; driving sound, innovative research; and cultivating industry partnerships to improve the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Illinois, in support of the university’s land-grant mission.

Kidwell is also an accomplished spring wheat breeder and geneticist. She has developed more than 20 wheat varieties for farmers. Her research has led to multiple patented discoveries and addressed basic questions involving gene discovery, genetic characterization and genetic mapping of important traits for wheat improvement.

Kidwell earned bachelor’s degrees in both genetics and development and agriculture science from Illinois, and she earned a master’s degree and doctorate in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of Wisconsin.

The Wiswell-Robeson Lecture was founded in 2016, thanks to a gift from 1960 Monmouth graduate Jeanne Gittings Robeson of Monmouth. The lecture’s purpose is to annually feature a speaker from the agriculture community who explores issues, challenges and innovations in the industry.

Robeson and her late husband, Don Robeson, who was a 1954 Monmouth graduate, operated their farm in Warren County.

The Wiswell-Robeson Lecture complements several food-related initiatives at the College. For almost a decade, College faculty and students have maintained a garden and farm near the campus. Monmouth’s innovative Global Food Security Triad allows students to explore issues in agriculture and food security by studying anthropology, biology and economics.

Monmouth was also the only liberal arts college among the charter signatories of Presidents United to Solve Hunger, a United Nations-sponsored initiative to bring the energy of colleges and universities from around the world to address hunger.

View year’s Wiswell-Robeson Lecture by Kim Kidwell live on YouTube.