University of Illinois dairy science graduate Rod Stoll appreciates that his tuition bill in 1989 looks different than tuition bills today. Yet, he understands what it’s like to attend college on a tight budget because he was in that same position as a student.
“I still feel extremely blessed and indebted by scholarships I received (Jonathan Baldwin Turner Scholarship and the Child of Veterans Tuition Scholarship),” Stoll said. “It would be a fascinating exercise to calculate the true financial return on my U of I investment. Although I don’t have access to all the variables that would be in that formula, I am confident it would be a humbling statistic that would motivate me to increase my annual giving back to the University and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES).”
Stoll said his career path would never have unfolded in the same way without his U of I degree. U of I was the only Illinois college that Monsanto’s dairy business recruited when he got his first job as a product development representative.
“As someone who has hired U of I students in my previous career at Monsanto and in my current career as Vice President of Public Relations for Farm Credit Services of Illinois, I have come to respect U of I graduates for being especially proficient on-the-job learners and for possessing the softer skills related to emotional intelligence that allow them to be effective team players and leaders,” Stoll said.
The career value of his degree is grounded as much by the experiences he gained beyond the classrooms as the education he received inside the classrooms. As a student worker, he was employed by both the Office of Academic Programs as a three-year JBT Scholarship Banquet Presenter and by the Department of Animal Sciences as a part-time feeder and milker for specific research studies at the dairy farm throughout his four-year education.
“Those very specific work experiences were critical parts of my interview stories in sharing my pedigree of experiences, skills, and work ethic,” he said. “The personal development that was provided through my experiences as Nabor House president, Illini Dairy Club president, and as an Illini Dairy Judging Team member greatly enhanced my leadership skills and team work competencies. And the Illini network of relationships of student peers, professors, administrators, and alumni have created amazing value for me throughout my career.”