URBANA – The University of Illinois is making history today (Tuesday) as Dr. Kimberlee Kidwell begins her role as the first female
dean in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Kidwell, a nationally respected
scholar and awardwinning teacher and administrator, holds the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair.
“It is surreal to have an opportunity to cocreate the next era of excellence in the college with the ACES community at
my alma mater,” said Kidwell, who received her bachelor’s degrees from the College of ACES in genetics and
development and agriculture science. “It is a privilege to be able to create opportunities of a lifetime for people at the
university that provided those types of opportunities for me.”
Kidwell is an accomplished wheat breeder and geneticist with multiple patented discoveries addressing basic questions
involving gene discovery, genetic characterization, and genetic mapping of important traits for wheat improvement. She
also released more than 20 wheat varieties for commercial production.
In her previous role as executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
at Washington State University, Kidwell spearheaded the development of the new Center for Transformational Learning
and Leadership, a student, faculty, alumni, and industry partner collaboration which provides beyondtheclassroom
experiences for students and leadership development for graduate students, faculty, staff, and professionals.
She grew up in Danville, Illinois. After graduating from the U of I, she went on to obtain her master’s and Ph.D. degrees
in plant breeding and plant genetics from the University of WisconsinMadison.
Kidwell will succeed ACES Dean Robert Hauser, who has served in that role since 2010.