The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Alumni Association has named the extended family of Joseph and Elizabeth Pizzo as the recipient of its 2011 Family Spirit Award.
This award recognizes families who have demonstrated their support of the college as alumni and/or current students. It was presented at the annual ACES College Connection event on Nov. 18 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center in Urbana.
Of the Pizzo's six children — Pat, Jim, Joel, Jack, Pamela, and Peg — five are U of I graduates; three of them graduated from ACES. All six children married into families with strong ties to the U of I and have transmitted their Illinois spirit to their children. Nine of the grandchildren have attended, or are attending, the university.
Family members have put their U of I education into action by making names for themselves in banking, consulting, design, ecology, entrepreneurship, horticulture, and politics. The family includes five individuals that have started their own business.
One of the family businesses, Pizzo and Associates, specializes in creating and restoring natural areas and provided the design services for the prairie restoration at the corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street on campus.
In addition to these accomplishments, all of the family members are active philanthropists and have donated hundreds of hours of their time to helping schools, hospitals, churches, shelters, and community organizations.
Currently, the extended family, including Brian and Patricia Bauer, Alan and Peg Mickelson, James and Marguerite Pizzo, Jack Pizzo, and Peter and Pamela Russell, are establishing a multi-unit scholarship. The scholarship is in honor of all of their parents and grandparents who valued higher education and helped to teach them that persistence and hard work lead to success. The initial donations were also made in special memory of Joel (ACES '83, deceased) — beloved son, brother, brother-in-law and uncle. The scholarships impact four colleges across campus, including ACES.