Cooperative Sorority & Alumni

4-H House Blog

4-H House Association Meeting Goes Virtual

“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”…While the women of 4-H House didn’t create ZOOM, COVID-19 has made it necessary to present our first virtual association meeting, which will be held on Saturday, October 17th at 10:00 AM CDT. Please click HERE to let us know if you are able to join us for the 4-H House Association Meeting on October 17th.

This year, we are going to try something new and provide an opportunity for ‘decades chat’ at the conclusion of our business agenda. We will use Zoom’s breakout rooms for some brief sharing and reminiscing with one another! If you have questions about the ‘decades chats,’ please contact Tammy (Twenhafel) Oertel at 618-541-8495 or at stewardship@4hhousealumni.org.


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Congratulations on your Retirement, Naomi!

Congratulations to Naomi on her retirement and thank you for your service as the 4-H House Mom! Let’s shower her with cards to congratulate her and show our appreciation for all that she has done for us!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

2020 Distinguished Alumni Award

It’s that time again to nominate a sister for the Distinguished Alumni Award. Which 4-H House sister comes to mind when you think about service to the house, the University, her profession, and her community? Please consider nominating her for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The guidelines and application are posted below. This year’s application is due to the Alumni Board by August 1, 2020. Applications can be emailed to membersupport@4hhouse.com or mailed to 4-H House, PO Box 522, St. Joseph, IL 61783 – Attn: Distinguished Alumni Award.



4-H House Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Tammy Oertel

Hello!  I’m Tammy (Twenhafel) Oertel, 1994 U of I graduate with a BS in Speech and Hearing Science and member of the 4-H House pledge class of ’95.   It’s an honor and a privilege to serve on the Alum Board.  I appreciate everything that 4-H House afforded me during my time on campus, and now that my children are themselves entering the college years, giving back to my home-away-from-home in this capacity is an exciting and welcomed prospect.

I grew up in southern Illinois (shout out to the CC, aka Clinton County) on a dairy and grain farm.  I attended Kaskaskia Jr. College for one year, then transferred as a sophomore.  Though my career path was not in agriculture, and I loved the broad experiences and diversity I experienced at U of I, my heart was never far from my roots.  This made 4-H House the perfect place for me to live and grow.  It makes me smile when I hear someone call me T-Squared, because that nickname transports me right back to life at 805 W. Ohio.

Upon leaving C-U, I completed graduate school at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and married Jason (U of I and AGR alum).  We live on the family farm near Brighton, IL.  Our son, Tyson, is currently a freshman studying ag business at Western Illinois University.  Our daughter, Shelby, is in her senior year at Southwestern High School and busy exploring her post-secondary options.   I’m employed as a speech-language pathologist for Southwestern CUSD 9, home of the Piasa Birds…A legend of local folklore and, while not a very attractive creature, one of the most unique school mascots you’ll encounter.  I’m not exaggerating; Google it and you’ll see what I mean.  I’m also involved with our church’s outreach programs for the local area, including the Pack-a-Sack initiative, which provides food for students in need over weekends and holiday breaks during the school year.

On the recreational side, I enjoy my role as a fan of the Cardinals, Blues and (of course) the FIGHTING ILLINI.  It also doesn’t take much convincing to get me to attend a concert- Recent favorites include Garth Brooks, The Indigo Girls, John Mayer, and Cher (You seriously haven’t lived until you’ve sang “If I Could Turn Back Time” at the top of your lungs, wrapped in black feather boas with your 4-H House Sisters, in a packed arena 20-plus years after college).

My three years at 4-H House set the course for my life, and my relationships from that time have been steadfast through the most intense of joys and deepest of sorrows along with everything in between;      I know they’ll continue to be a constant in the beautiful chaos that is life.   My main goal as a member of the Alum Board is to ensure that young women experience the unique sisterhood that only 4-H House can offer.  One of my favorite quotes is from Ken Blanchard: “None of us is as smart as all of us.”  Working together makes us all better, and our cooperative sorority exemplifies that.  In a huge sea of Orange and Blue, the Emerald has been a beacon of strength and success for 85 years.  With our cornerstone tradition of working together, we can help carry 4-H House well beyond ourselves to the children of the future.  I-L-L- and Sisterly Love!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Gay Greenwood Kirkton

Hello! My name is Gay Greenwood Kirkton, and I was a member of the pledge class of the fall of 1975 and a graduate of the May class of 1979.  I majored in speech and English education and spent most of my career teaching at Dekalb High School in Auburn, Indiana, north of Fort Wayne. I attended the 85th anniversary weekend this past summer and was so impressed with all that the alumni board has accomplished! I only hope I can keep up with them as I begin my tenure!

I grew up  in Chatham, Illinois, and I always hoped to attend the U of I because my father graduated from there. I heard many stories of his experiences in his classes and living at Illi- Dell. We spent a few weekends every year visiting with his Illi- Dell buddy Bill Gossett and his wife Nancy, who lived at 4-H House. When I knew I was accepted to U of I, I did indeed interview and was thrilled to get the call asking me to pledge! I live a fuller life professionally and socially because I lived at 4-H House.

I have been retired for 4 years after teaching high school English and speech and serving as a literacy coach for a total of 36 years. I earned a master’s degree in Communication from Purdue and then lived mostly  in northeastern Indiana, but in the early 90’s my family lived in Roseville, Illinois, where my husband taught and coached.  I taught at Yorkwood Jr. Sr. High and was excited to learn a pledge sister, Deb Mueller, lived in the district with her family.  I was privileged to teach both her son and her daughter, and I remember discussing with Krystal, now Krystal Campbell Jungmann, about how she should set a goal to live at 4-H House. Now we share alumni status!

I met my husband Rick in my first year of teaching at Fountain Central High School in Veedersburg, Indiana, but he is also from Illinois, having grown up on a farm near Gridley. We have a daughter Katie who is a graphic designer and the creative manager for the Indiana Society of CPAs in Indianapolis. Our son is one step closer to his dream of farming, having just purchased 20 acres near Shakamak State Park in  southern Indiana.  He also works as a diesel mechanic for Casey’s, servicing the delivery trucks and refrigerated trailers in Terre Haute.

Because I live in Indiana, I have often explained how the University of Illinois is really the BEST university and that there is nothing better than 4-H House sisterhood.  I have tried to convince Indiana students to major in ag at U of I instead of Purdue so they could live at 4-H House. I have introduced my best Indiana girlfriend to Kathy Linker Lafrenz, and I think she finally understands just how special 4-H House sisters are. I love attending 4-H House reunions like the one this past summer because when I reconnect with a sister, we immediately pick up where we left off as if no time has passed.

I am grateful to be able to give my time to the organization that gave me lifelong friends who have been role models for what a life of fulfillment is all about.





Posted in Meet the Alum Board | 2 Comments

Meet Your Alum Board- Carol Tillman


Hello, my name is Carol Tillman and I lived in 4-H House all 4 years (Fall 1980 – 1984). I served as Secretary and other house offices and committees while in the House. I have been privileged to serve on 4-H House Alum Board and work with the maintenance of the House and the 801 property. As Property Manager, I coordinate with the House Manager on larger projects that are outside of the manager’s schedule. Coordinating with the Parents’ Associations on projects has also been beneficial for the House. I also serve with a great group of Alums, parents and current House girls on the Property Committee.  This group investigates projects, researches different approaches and makes recommendations to the Alum Board, then rolls up their sleeves to help complete the projects.

Currently for work, I design landscapes and do some installations. I grew up in Carlinville in Macoupin County on a livestock and grain farm, that I now farm.  In my spare time, I work at Hobby Lobby.

I am a 4-H Leader of over 26 years, and have been a Sunday School Teacher, Women’s Coordinator, Christian Education Director at our church. In years past I was Hancock County Pork Women’s Association President and am still a member of Pork Producers. As Altamont Garden Club President, I was responsible for the hanging basket program, the design and maintenance of the city parks and the Fall Festival.

My husband, Randy also graduated from the University and lived at IlliDell . We met in Animal Science 101!  Our two daughters­- Rachel and Rene’e were fortunate enough to live at 4-H House. Rachel graduated in 2016 and Rene’e in 2018. Our son, Ryan serves in the National Guard and works in landscaping.

4-H House holds a special place in our family’s heart like many other families; I’m thankful to serve during this special time in this special home’s history.  It’s is my sincere hope to help the team of current House residents and alums leave the House well situated for the future, so many more can enjoy the lifelong bonds of sisterhood.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board-Deb Duquaine


Hi! I’m Deb (Ruckman) Duquaine, and I lived in the House from 1987-1991.  I am excited about serving on the Alumni Board and reconnecting with alumni and meeting current 4H House women. After my older sister Karen (Ruckman) Rewerts showed me what the House was about, I wanted to live there.  It was even better when I got my 4H House big sis, Pam (Nash) Clodfelter. I lived in 4H House all four years, except for the semester I traveled to Perth, Australia with Joy (Parr) Drach for a study abroad semester. After graduating in ’91 with a Biology degree, I went on to Veterinary School in C-U and graduated in ’95. I went to work in my hometown of Flora at a mixed animal practice.  I married a Chicago boy, Paul, and brought him down to farm country.  Together we homeschooled our children and eventually sent them to Flora High School.  Go Wolves. We have one daughter and three sons.  Vivian is currently in her first year at U of I, living at 4H House and studying Animal Science. My twin sons, Max and Sam, and their younger brother, Nolan, are all still in high school.  Paul and I enjoy attending their various activities and sporting events, volunteering at our church and playing trivia weekly, while I continue to work part-time at the Flora Veterinary Clinic. Because 4H House is a such a wonderful organization, and it provides broad contacts and unique experiences for each of its many members.  I’m very excited to start my term on the Alum board.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

2019 Distinguished Alum




Since 2009 the 4-H House Alumni Association has presented the 4-H House Distinguished Alumni Award to one of our outstanding alumni to recognize contributions she has made to her community, her profession, her sorority and /or her university. Winners of this award are an example and a source of pride for all members of the 4-H House sisterhood.

The 2019 4-H House Distinguished Alumni Award is Holly Spangler.

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than 20 years, beginning her career with Prairie Farmer before graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in agricultural communications.  As editor of Prairie Farmer magazine, she brings meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage, including a variety of agronomic, financial and issue-oriented stories. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine, and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at seven magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association.  She was named Master Writer in 2005; in 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and has received the top writing award for editorial opinion for three consecutive years. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award.  She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth.  Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans, and beef cattle on 2,300 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents, and their three children, Jenna, Nathan and Caroline.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul, and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations.  They serve with local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district and are active in their church’s youth and music ministries.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

85th Reunion Program

Posted in General | Leave a comment

85th Reunion Book

Click on the link below to view the PDF of the book from the 85th Reunion

85th Book

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet our Newest Alums – Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Bobbi Toepper will be working for Morton Buildings as a Project Engineer Associate in Morton, IL.

Christy Allen will be working as an Associate Territory Manager for Corteva Agriscience in Kansas City covering Kansas and Missouri.

Hannah Miller will be Teaching 5th grade at Prairie Central Upper Elementary in Forrest, IL.

Harley Carlson will be teaching Agriculture at Central Community High School in Breese, IL.

Jalyne Herren will be pursuing her Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Child Life at Illinois State University.

Jillian Monier will be working in Redwood Falls, MN as a Production Associate for Bayer CropScience

Kara Brokamp will be working for BSNF Railway as a track engineer.

Lauren Southwood will working in an underfunded school planning after school program, mentoring etc. in Denver Colorado for a year before heading to Law School.

Katie Zelechowski will be an Associate at Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington, IL.

Meghan Clodfelter will be moving to Florida to work for Walt Disney World as a Front Desk Cast Member through their College Program.

Rachel Recker will be a District Sales Manager Trainee for Bayer CropSciences.

Sammi Bessler will be working for Charles River Laboratories as a Farm Technician in Roanoke, IL.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Diane Nottmeyer

Hello, my name is Diane (Meyer) Nottmeyer. I was a member of the fall 1975 pledge class of 4-H House and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education (Mathematics & Accounting). I presently serve as the Secretary on the 4-H House Alumni Board. My duties include keeping accurate records of all meetings and organizing the New Member Luncheon and the Senior Brunch. I’ve learned so much in the past year about the inner workings of 4-H House and I have enjoyed serving with fellow alumni on the Alum Board.
I grew up on a dairy and grain farm near Addieville, Illinois. As a young adult I was very active in 4-H and attended various events at Champaign involving 4-H. It was during that time, that I decided I wanted to attend the University of Illinois. My freshman year I lived in a dorm and was unaware that 4-H House existed. On a weekend bus trip to Bloomington to visit friends at ISU, I sat next to a young lady who lived at 4-H House. She told me all about the House and invited me to supper. I loved it instantly and interviewed and moved in my Sophomore year. I served as Treasurer while living at the House. It was a wonderful welcoming place to live and I made many lifelong friends there.
I met my husband, Duane, at the University of Illinois. He was enrolled in Civil Engineering and serving in the USAF reserves at that time. My brother, David, was serving in the same unit at Scott Air Force Base and introduced us. I occasionally caught a ride home with Duane when he attended monthly training meetings. We became good friends and the rest is history. We’ve been married 44 years and have 2 children and 6 grandchildren. Our daughter, Jessica Greten, and her family live near us in Nashville, IL. Our son, Dan Nottmeyer, and his family live in St. Charles, MO. Our greatest joy comes from spending time with all of them. This past summer we took a family road trip to South Dakota and Wyoming.
I taught high school mathematics for 30+ years and retired from Mt. Vernon Twp. High School where I taught Trigonometry, Calculus and Advanced Algebra. I received my Master Degree from SIU-Carbondale in 1990 in Curriculum Instruction. I presently substitute teach at Nashville Community High School. I also do alterations, mainly for prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses (still putting those 4-H skills to use!). I’ve served as President and Vice President of the Washington County Hospital Board and President of our Church Council. My husband recently retired from the Automotive industry. He currently works part time doing Carpentry work and is active in the local Lions Club. In our retirement, we enjoy attending our grandchildren’s sporting and school events and traveling with our friends and family.
I have so many fond memories of 4-H House and I’m happy to share that my niece, Callie McClay, is one of the new members of the Class of 2022 now living at 4-H House. I look forward to seeing many of you at the 85th Reunion this summer!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Anne Hathaway

Anne F. Hathaway
Anne has a lifetime of experience and has built a record of success from the grassroots all the way to the very highest levels of American politics and government. From crucial state and local races to issue campaigns and grassroots initiatives to congressional and presidential politics, Anne brings to every task she faces a unique knowledge of the latest advances in modern technology and voter persuasion techniques, coupled with an unrivaled array of personal and professional contacts from coast-to-coast.

Currently President of Hathaway Strategies, an innovative grassroots public affairs consulting firm, Anne continues to work at both the state and national level providing government affairs, grassroots strategy and management and public relations support to state and national organizations, issue campaigns and Fortune 100 companies.

Most notably, Anne served as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee from 2007-2009 where she was responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of the committee. In the midst of an extremely challenging political environment, Anne exceeded all expectations and helped the RNC raise over $400 million ─ more money than at any time in history. She directed $100 million of that to state parties to support the 2008 Victory effort and more than $20 million to support U.S. House and Senate races around the country. Also, under her guidance, the RNC developed and perfected new voter outreach techniques and groundbreaking voter identification programs in addition to expanding a cutting-edge communications department that developed innovative new initiatives for Internet and electronic messaging.

At the same time, Anne served as the RNC’s primary liaison to The White House and the presidential campaign, as well as to the 2008 Republican National Convention, which she helped plan and execute.

Following her RNC tenure, Anne returned to Indiana to launch Hathaway Strategies. In 2010, she ran the company while simultaneously managing the victorious U.S. Senate primary campaign of former and current Senator Dan Coats. She was also a key consultant on grassroots campaign techniques for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS in its successful launch year.

In 2012, she was again called upon to serve on the national stage as Program Director of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. She was the top liaison between the Mitt Romney for President campaign and convention officials and oversaw every aspect of the convention’s program and planning. That year she also served as Co-Chair of the Platform Committee for the Indiana Republican Party which was tasked with developing the state party’s platform through a series of public forums and meetings across the state.

Anne previously served as the CEO of Data Trust, a national voter file project that has a comprehensive list exchange agreement with Republican National Committee.

A native of Galva, Illinois, and a graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Agriculture, Anne’s talent, skill and initiative have been recognized since she began her career working on Congressional races in her home state. In 1985, she relocated to Washington, D.C., to work in the Office of Public Liaison at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and then joined the Bush/Quayle Presidential campaign as scheduler for Marilyn Tucker Quayle after the 1988 Republican National Convention.

She served as Transition Director for Mrs. Quayle and went on to serve Vice President Dan Quayle at The White House as Assistant to the Vice President and Director of Scheduling and Public Liaison. In this role, she helped implement the strategic short-term and long-term goals of the Bush Administration. When their time in office ended, Anne continued to serve Vice President Quayle by organizing his national book tours, his political action committee and his national fundraising network as Executive Director of his political action committee, Campaign America.

During the 2000 election cycle, she was the Executive Director of the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee where she played a leadership role in recruiting and electing candidates to the Indiana House of Representatives. After that election, Anne’s abilities and leadership were again called into service at the national level, and from 2001-2006 Anne was the Regional Political Director for the Great Lakes Region at the RNC where she worked with state parties and candidates in the crucial states of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and played key roles in numerous victories, including many where Republicans had never before been successful.

Anne’s passion for training and recruiting women to run for office led her to become executive director of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a woman’s political leadership program, in 2011. She also has served on the Board of Directors and as a faculty member for the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University and is the Indiana State Director for Maggie’s List, a group organized to support fiscally conservative female candidates running for the U.S. Congress and help develop women who may run for federal office in future elections.

In 2016, Anne received the Indianapolis Trailblazer Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners. Prior to that, she was named a Women of Influence in 2015 by the Indianapolis Business Journal. She was also a recipient of the 2013 Torchbearer Award, presented by the Indiana Commission for Women, for her leadership as a woman in the political arena. In 2009, Anne received the Nancy A. Maloley Outstanding Public Servant Award presented by the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series and in 2007 was the recipient of the Iron Jaw Angel Award presented by the National Excellence in Public Service Series.

She currently serves as the Chairman of the the Board of the Julian Center, as Treasurer of Hoosiers for Quality Education PAC, as the President of the Board for the 4-H House Alumni Board at her alma mater and is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners Indianapolis Chapter Board of Directors. She is a member of the Indiana and Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Boards of Directors.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Michelle Mitchell

Hello! My name is Michelle (Uken) Mitchell. I was a member of the ’94 pledge class of 4-H House and graduated from the U of I with a degree in Elementary Education. Currently, I am on the Alum Board and serving on the Property Committee. I have learned a lot from being on this committee and really appreciate their hard work. A big thank you to all of the alums who donate their time, talents, and/or money in making 4-House a special place for young women at the University of Illinois!


I grew up on a farm near St. Joseph, Illinois and I also enjoyed working on my grandparents’ dairy farm, as well as showing dairy cattle. My sister, Tammy (Uken) Kimmel was in the ‘87 pledge class. As her younger sister, it was always so fun to visit her at the house and get to know her house sisters. I always wished that Little Sister Weekend was every weekend! While living at 4-H House, I served as Vice-President, Social Chair, and Assistant Secretary, along with other committees. I always loved participating in all of the intramural sports with my house sisters!


Currently, I am a first grade teacher in Mahomet-Seymour School District. I have been teaching for 20 years and I absolutely LOVE it! Each day, I get to watch my students’ enthusiasm for learning and their growth as readers! As Dr. Seuss would say, “Today was good. Today was FUN. Tomorrow is another one!”   


I am married to Cory, who also graduated from the U of I and lived at AGR. We have 3 children: Madison (19), Natalie (16), and Hayden (13). We live in Mahomet, Illinois. Many times, you will find our family playing a sport or watching a sport. Most importantly, we will always be cheering on the ILLINI and the CUBS!


My daughter, Madison, is currently a sophomore at the U of I and living at 4-H House. One of the hardest things about being a parent, is letting your child leave for college. However, knowing that she is in the BEST place on campus and in a special sisterhood that will last a lifetime, makes it much much easier! I have really enjoyed getting to know her house sisters. They are truly amazing young ladies! As I visit with the girls, it is very clear that our 4-H House sisterhood has not changed. These girls are destined to have life long friendships and many special memories, just as we did! (Maybe some of you will remember “Snap! Snap!” after reading that last sentence… And yes, they still do snaps!!  🙂


It is absolutely heartwarming to witness that 4-H House continues to be a special HOME away from home! I am privileged to be a part of it as an alum and as a mom!


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Pat Nelson



Hello. I am Pat Nelson, pledge class of fall 1976/graduating class of 1980. It feels like yesterday, but when I see those years on paper, wow! It is my honor to be serving on the 4-H House Alumni Board.  As the marketing/recruitment officer, I support the House Interviewing Chair with disseminating information, recruiting, and selecting prospective members. As privacy concerns increase and information shared through the university decreases, we rely strongly on our alum base to link young ladies in your communities with the opportunity of living cooperatively at 4-H House. I will make one more shameless plug. If you know any high school young lady that would make a great addition to 4-H House, please email the interviewing chair at 4hhinterview@gmail.com.


For me, there was really only one university choice and it led me straight to 4-H House. Perhaps my family brainwashed me into attending the University of Illinois as a majority of my family were U of I graduates. One of those, my aunt, had also previously lived at 4-H House. Naturally, 4-H House seemed like a perfect fit for me. With two interviewing weekends and nearly twice as many girls applying as spots available, I was a nervous wreck! I was beyond ecstatic that Sunday night when Deb Mueller called to extend the invitation to pledge. The decision to live at the house has been a blessing to me ever since. Within the first week that my class moved in, I had sisters for a lifetime. The list of relatives that are alumni has continued to grow to include two nieces and my daughter. 4-H House remains a home away from home where I can enter and, even though all the faces have changed, the love is still readily shared.


The BS degree I received at the University of Illinois through the College of Ag was in Human Resources and Family Studies Education. I taught for 35 years at the junior high and then senior high school level at Galesburg and the ROWVA school districts. Dedicated to developing leadership skills in youth, I served for 25 years as the adviser for the nationally recognized ROWVA FCCLA Chapter, focusing on service learning activities to help young people see how limitless their skills really are. (Just passing on what my house sisters taught me way back when!)


Now retired, I still live on the farm outside of Altona, Illinois with my husband of 38 years. In fact, a couple of house sisters introduced us! We have raised three children and have two grandchildren. Although I still enjoy time in the classroom as a substitute teacher, I fill my time volunteering as the church mission quilting chair, co-leader of an after school Christian youth program for 4-6 grade students with house sister Nancy Erickson, evaluating FCCLA and 4-H projects, and various other community organizations and activities.


I am anxious to see many of you this summer at the 85th 4-H House Reunion. Please make plans with your pledge class to gather for a wonderful time to share memories, catch-up, and strengthen our sisterhood.  

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Julie West

Member of 4-H House  and lived in the house for 4 years (fall 1976 – spring 1980)

4-H House president, House Manager and several other house offices and committees


BS in Home Economics Education, May 1980, University of IL

MS in Education, July 1993, Western IL University




Volunteer/Auxiliary Manager at Hammond-Henry Hospital, Geneseo, IL.   April 2003 – present

Coordinate efforts of 230 adult volunteers and 58 teen volunteers in rural community hospital.

In my “spare” time, I am also self-employed doing clothing alterations for a Four Seasons/GWK Enterprises and for individuals.


University of IL Extension, 4-H Youth Development, in Whiteside County, Rock Island County, Extension Educator- Youth-at-Risk/Prevention

Iowa State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development, in Scott and Muscatine Counties


Volunteer Involvement

First Congregational Church, Geneseo – member, secretary of Church Council, past Church Council chair and trustee, and current choir member.

Served on the local board of the Geneseo International Thanksgiving Fellowship Program (GITFP).  It is a non-profit group that hosts international visitors with short-term home stays.  Visitors are guests of the US State Department or students from Chicago area colleges.  Our family has hosted international visitors several times in the past 14 years.


My husband, Bruce West, also graduated from U of IL and AGR alum.  We are fortunate that our daughter, Callie, chose to live at 4-H House for 4 years when she attended U of I.  She graduated May 2012.   Our son, Paul, graduated from U of IL in 2014.  He married a 4-H House alum, Amanda Rosendale (graduated 2014).  I also had two sisters that lived at 4-H House – Audrey Hepner Becker (graduated 1984) and Darcy Hepner (graduated 1986).


Posted in General | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Beth Patterson

Greetings.  It’s Beth Patterson – your Alumni relations connection on the board.  When the House women look to meet, mix, and mingle with our illustrious alums for networking opportunities, I’m the one to call!  The Homefront also falls under my responsibility.  As Joyce Riskedal (web site maven) has previously mentioned, please update your profile on the House web site as we are moving to more digital communication in January of 2020.

A little about me.  I hail from Carroll County in Northwestern Illinois and was determined to attend the UI no matter what.  My folks were concerned that this small-town girl would get lost in the shuffle of the University and they were right.  Thank goodness for learning about 4H House through the connections I made while showing projects at the state fair.  The night that Natalie Webb Dougherty and Nancy Blankenship Ottosen called me to join 4H House and the pledge class of 1978, I was SO happy!  I still get together with these ladies at Homecoming biennially.

My passion for fashion (ask Joyce about that) and business led me to pursue two degrees.  One in Textile Science and the other in the Marketing of Apparel.  I applied that knowledge as a buyer for Neiman Marcus and as a store manager for various retailers including Carson Pirie Scott and Casual Corner.  I’d had enough of retail and wanted to work on the other side of the desk in wholesale.  My first 4H House roomie’s husband was a big shot with Kraft, so I networked my way to an account manager position at Kraft Foods.  Next stop was as an award-winning account executive with Abbott.  Then…

Thoughts of working for myself had intrigued me for years.  How could I use my knowledge of textiles and business together?  Doink! As an owner of a successful laundromat of course!  My first location was on the campus of Ohio State.  I lost the lease to eminent domain and moved 3 semis of laundry equipment to IL.  Found one here that was a dump when I bought it.  It’s been revived and now produces triple the business!  No glamorous fashion here.  But it’s lucrative.

My hobbies are power walking, sewing, and cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I also enjoy helping those that want to start a small business develop their business plan and get things off the ground like others did for me. I’m also Six Sigma Black Belt trained to help your business find unearned revenue and improve your processes.

Like the other ladies on the board, I wanted to give back to the place where I got my start on campus.  It’s been a pleasure working with ladies of so many different backgrounds, life experiences, careers, and personalities.  We all work to make the best better at our campus home as sisters with enduring friendships. Let me know if you are willing to connect with and/or mentor a current 4H House woman.  Additionally, we are always looking for sisters to join us on the board.  Call me!

Posted in General, Meet the Alum Board | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Pam Clodfelter

Hello!  My name is Pam Clodfelter, and I serve as the Parent Liaison on your Alumni Board.  It amazes me how time slips away so quickly and before I know it, I find myself being a 30-year alumnus of the University of Illinois and 4H House.  I graduated with a BS (1989) in Agricultural Communications (News-Editorial) and an M.Ed. (2002) in Human Resource Development.   I grew up in Kewanee Illinois on a farrow to finish hog farm where I was active in athletics at Wethersfield High School and 4-H.

In the past 30 years, I have worked in various industries as my husband, Randy, and I have grown our careers and our family. Starting with the Illinois Pork Producers Association to Higher Education to Ag in the Classroom, I never strayed too far from promoting agriculture and education.  Currently, I am the human resource/office manager for a local commodity brokerage firm.  We live in Sterling where we raised our two children – Meghan and Mitch.  Both kids are attending the University of Illinois. Meghan is a senior at 4H House. Mitch is a freshman at FarmHouse.  It is so enjoyable to watch them create their college memories. I have many fond recollections of living four years at the house – the saloon doors on the bathroom stalls, four-mans, the wooden 4H House sign, MCNM notes, the sun deck, and of course, Mom T!  I served as President, Treasurer, and few other junior exec offices.  The leadership experiences that the house afforded me have helped me throughout my career.  Being a part of the alumni board and a parent of a house active, I have been able to observe our current members grow into impressive future leaders.  Their excitement for our house makes serving on this board worthwhile. 

Posted in General, Meet the Alum Board | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board- Joyce Riskedal

Hi, this is Joyce (Maierhofer) Riskedal (’91).  I am the one you hear from on FB and emails.  I serve as the website/database chair on the alum board. (Don’t forget to update your profile).

Shortly after I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education, I married my college sweetheart, Brad (FH, ’91).   I taught kindergarten for 2 years and started our family.  I like to consider myself as still being on maternity leave.  Except for some substitute teaching years ago, I have not returned to the classroom.

We have 2 sons, Darren and Stephen.  Darren (FH, ’16) married Kendall Herren (4-H, ’16) and lives in Lake Mills, WI. He works for Insight FS.  Stephen (FH, ’19) will be starting a job with Grainco FS here in LaSalle County after graduation.

I stay busy helping Brad on our family farm in Leland, IL, keeping the books for our trucking company, “R” Delivery, helping with Riskedal Beef while the boys are away, and running our business Country Lights Soy Candles.  Country Lights is my passion.  We manufacture soy candles and sell most of them through fundraisers across the country.  We have also started selling on our website www.countrylights.net and Amazon.

I have stayed involved with youth by serving as Cub Master for our local Cub Scout pack and helping Brad with his role as Scout Master for the Boy Scout Troop.  We are also both active in our church.  Brad is in the Lions Club and serves on the school board.  We love to help out in the community whenever we can.

I am excited about the upcoming reunion in July.  I look forward to connecting with old friends.  The best part of being on the alum board is meeting sisters from other generations and getting to know the current house girls.

Posted in General, Meet the Alum Board | 1 Comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Rebecca Ries

Hi! My name is Rebecca (Becki) Ries. I am a member of 4-H House’s 2017 pledge class, but I graduated from U of I in 2016 with a degree in Animal Sciences. I grew up in Waterloo, IL on a small hobby farm. While in 4-H House, I served as the Philanthropy Chair, Brother’s Weekend Chair, and Risk Chair. On campus, I was very active with ACES Council, serving as President my junior/senior year. I was also the President of a club for international students called English Corner for two years. 

After graduation, I received a poultry certification from the Midwest Poultry Consortium’s Center of Excellence Program hosted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. With the poultry certification, I moved to Kentucky to work in a management training position with Pilgrim’s. From there I became the Human Resources Supervisor. This past summer, I moved back to the Champaign-Urbana area and took a job at the Champaign County Humane Society as their Events & Marketing Coordinator. I’ve now been there for almost 8 months, and I love being able to help the animals at CCHS find new homes! 

Since coming back to the area, I have been wanting to get involved with 4-H House again, so I’m very excited to officially be on the board and start this journey! I am currently working on the 85th Anniversary Celebration Committee, and I hope you can all attend the fun events that we are planning. I am also a member of the Champaign Rotary Club, and I am a sponsor of Centennial High School’s Interact Club. I enjoy spending time in the outdoors with my boyfriend, hanging out with my friends and family, and cuddling with my cats. 

Some of my favorite memories are from my time in the house – like doing handstands in the hallways! 4-H House introduced me to some of my best friends and for that I am forever grateful! My advice to current members of the house is to soak it all in and enjoy. Your time there will be over before you know it, but the memories and friends that you make will last a lifetime!

Posted in Meet the Alum Board | Leave a comment

Meet Your Alum Board – Kelli Lively

I, Kelli Lively, am a Class of 1996 alumna of 4-H House and graduated UofI with a major in Finance from the College of Business. I grew up in West Salem, IL as part of a proud farming family and was a 10-year member of our local 4-H Club. As an undergraduate, I was an active member of the house mostly serving in offices related to Treasurer, Social, and Pledge guidance. I was proud to represent 4-H House on the University’s Panhellenic Council for two years, and held an elected position in Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) serving as Homecoming Committee Chairperson in my senior year.

After college, I worked in various finance, treasury, and trust administration roles at Citicorp and Northern Trust in Chicago, IL. At Northern Trust, Washington University in St. Louis was one of my not-for-profit trust administration accounts, which led me to pursue a career at WashU when I married and had the desire to move back “downstate”. For the last 18 years, I have worked in higher education, in Admissions and Aid at Washington University in St. Louis. Recently, I took at position as the Manager of Loan Programs, reporting directly to the university Treasurer.  

Today, my husband Troy and I live in rural Bethalto, Illinois, with our four children — aged 8-16 — where we enjoy the outdoors, being active in our children’s activities (including our local 4-H club, Fosterburg Ag), and teaching our children the skills we learned in our youth, many through 4-H. I am an active volunteer at our children’s school and parish serving as Vice President of the School Board. I am the owner of ‘a little lively’, a small business hobby that allows me to enjoy occasional contract sewing and patternwork. Over the last 14 years, I’ve contributed my pattern and design skills to the success of Sweet Petunia Clothing, a children’s clothing brand based in St. Louis  — a company proudly committed to textile manufacturing in the U.S.A.

It is so rewarding to see my family and life-long 4-H House friends — some of the most amazing women I know — as Moms to daughters enjoying their time at UofI as members of 4-H House! For this reason, I have a personal interest in ensuring the next generation experiences the best that 4-H House has to offer young active members — and I’m proud to serve as your Association Treasurer!

Posted in Meet the Alum Board | Leave a comment

Distinguished Alumni Award

Take a moment and think about your house sisters. Which one comes to mind when you think about service to the house, the University, her profession, and her community? Please consider nominating her for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The guidelines and application are posted below. This year’s application is due to the Alumni Board by May 1, 2019. Applications can be emailed to membersupport@4hhouse.com or mailed to 4-H House 805 W. Ohio, Urbana, IL 61801 Attn: Anne Hathaway

Posted in General | Leave a comment

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award – Meg Cline

                                        2018 4-H HOUSE DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD

Since 2009, the 4-H House Alumni Association has presented the 4-H House Distinguished Alumni Award to one of our outstanding alumni to recognize contributions she has made to her community, her profession, her sorority and/or her university.  Winners of this award are an example and a source of pride for all members of the 4-H House sisterhood.

The 2018 4-H House Distinguished Alumni Award winner is Meg Webster Cline. 

Meg Cline graduated from the University of Illinois in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer Economics from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). She received her Masters in Business Administration from the University in 2009.  Meg is also a Certified Financial Planner and has been awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst Charter.

Meg lived at 4-H House for 4 years and served as Secretary, Assistant Secretary and J-Board Chair.  As an alumnus, she served on the 4-H House Alumni Association Board from 2010-2013, was President 2011-2013 and a member of the Renovations Committee 2012-2014.  Her leadership was instrumental in expanding and redefining the qualifications to reside at 4-H House and for setting in motion the 4-H House renovation.  Meg’s determination to see 4-H House thrive led to the kitchen remodel in 2013 and the long-term strategic plan to maintain the house infrastructure. 

Meg has been a lifetime member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association since 1996 and a member of the Presidents Council since 2000.

 Professionally, Meg is Vice President of Gift Planning and Trust Services for the University of Illinois Foundation.  Previously she was Associate Dean for Advancement in the of College of ACES, Director of Principal Gifts and Gift Planning Advisor as well as Executive Assistant to the President for Development/Director of Principal Gifts at the University of Illinois Foundation.  

Meg has been deeply involved in her community.  She is a member of P.E.O International Sisterhood where she has served on the State Member Development Committee and has been President – twice! Vice President, Fundraising Chair, Budget Chair, and Treasurer. She is on the Board of the Crisis Nursery.  Meg is a member and has been President, Vice President Secretary and Treasurer of the Eastern Illinois Estate Planning Council, a Regent and General Trustee for the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and a member of the Financial Planning Association and National Association for Charitable Gift Planners.

Meg has been recipient of many awards and honors.  While at the University of Illinois she was a member of Ma-Wan-Da, Atius-Sachem. In 2002 she was named Outstanding Young Alumni for the College of ACES. She received the MBA Class of 2009 Dean’s Award for Highest GPA as well as the MBA Class of 2009 “Best Teammate” Award.

Meg resides in Champaign with her husband, Scott Cline and their daughter, Anna Kate.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

2018 Fall Homefront

2018 Fall Homefront

Posted in Homefront | Leave a comment

2018 Annual Association Meeting

Check out the Annual Meeting/Homecoming Schedule – hope to see you there!


Posted in General | Leave a comment

2017 Summer Homefront

2017 Summer Homefront

Posted in Homefront | Leave a comment

Distinguished Alumni Award

Distinguished Alumni Award Application


Posted in General | Leave a comment

4-H House Cookbook

Printable order form for the

4-H House Cookbook

OR order online!

Pay with PayPal.
I prefer to pay by check.

Please enter the security code:
security code
Security Code:

Posted in Alumni Information, General | Leave a comment
The Illinois 4-H House Alumni Association
is primarily responsible for the efficient operation and governance of the house.
© 2021, 4H House Cooperative Sorority & Alumni. All Rights Reserved.  |  Website Design by EDJE  |