Mumford Hall is a lot like Illinois agriculture, Holly Spangler says.
“It’s friendly. It’s not glamorous. It’s work-worn. Its marble steps sink in the middle from thousands of faculty and farm kids making their way through.”
Spangler would know — before becoming senior editor at Penton Agriculture, Mumford was her home away from home.
“I went to class in Mumford, worked in Mumford for the ACES Advancement office, used the dark room in the basement far too late at night, met with revered professors in Mumford, and read ‘Prairie Farmers’ in its old library," she says.
"By the time I graduated, I knew nearly everyone in the building and the dean called me by name because everyone was like family there. Those were good days.
“I was a farm kid from southern Illinois who came to the university to be a doctor. Two months in and Chemistry 101 helped me realize I was not going to do eight years of that. Eventually, I landed in the office of Dr. Jim Evans, the pioneer and revered grandfather of agricultural communications. His office was on the south end of the first floor.
“We talked and he questioned me about my interests and background, never trying to talk me into anything but sincerely trying to help me find my way. I learned about all the possible careers and directions I could go. I liked it.
“I looked up on the wall at his painting of a mailbox on a dirt road with a farmhouse in the background. A farm magazine was sticking out of the mailbox. It looked like home. As I sat in that office in Mumford Hall, I had a singular thought: This is it. These are my people.
"I jumped in and never looked back.”