Jared Kempel is serving as the public/alumni relations chair for the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho at the University of Illinois. This professional and social fraternity is home to students who are pursuing careers related to the agriculture, food or fiber industries.
Jared Kempel is serving as the public/alumni relations chair for the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho at the University of Illinois. This professional and social fraternity is home to students who are pursuing careers related to the agriculture, food or fiber industries.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Alpha Gamma Rho is a professional and social fraternity for young men pursuing any career related to the agriculture, food or fiber industries.

“Our main purpose is to make better men and through them better agriculture,” said Jared Kempel, public/alumni relations chair for the Alpha Chapter of AGR at the University of Illinois. “We are focused on becoming better by improving our social, mental and moral values.”

The U of I chapter was established in 1906.

“There is a lot of history here,” Kempel said. “Our members are guys with similar career goals and who have a passion for agriculture.”

Currently, 71 young men are members of AGR, and the majority of them are completing degrees in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“We also have members in the College of Business and in the College of E ngineering,” Kempel noted. “I am studying accounting in the College of Business.”

Kempel grew up working on his uncle’s grain farm, and his family manages a small Charolais herd on their hobby farm near Lena.

Now a junior, Kempel joined AGR when he was a sophomore student.

“I joined because I wanted to be with similar-minded guys with an ag background,” he said.

This summer, Kempel will be interning with John Deere.

“There are a lot of job opportunities in agriculture,” he said. “I want to work in the agricultural industry after I graduate. That passion for agriculture is what got me to this house.”

The recruiting process at AGR is different from other fraternities on campus.

“We hold rush events now for high school seniors, and we do things like take them to a restaurant or we have a paint ball event,” Kempel said. “What makes us different is the majority of our guys live in the house, which keeps us closer.”

The AGR house is certified housing at the U of I, which means freshman can move into the house when they arrive on campus in August.

“The majority of our guys join AGR as freshman,” Kempel said. “But we are flexible. Some guys join AGR when they are sophomores or juniors.”

In addition, Kempel said, the cost to live at AGR is less than the average cost to live in a university dorm. “The cost to live here is about $2,000 cheaper than living in a dorm,” he said. “And we have a huge scholarship program, which is made possible by a very strong alumni base.”

One of AGR’s philanthropy events is the Foxy Lady Contest, which has been held annually since 1973.

“The sororities nominate a girl, and each contestant is interviewed by a panel of judges,” Kempel said. “The girls also give a speech and the proceeds from the contest, which is typically about $1,000 annually, go to the American Cancer Society.”

In addition, AGR also invites agricultural professionals to visit the house.

“They come in and talk about opportunities at their companies,” Kempel said. “A lot of times, these are alumni of the house or older brothers of current members.”

During the recent AGR Founders’ Day Celebration, more than $30,000 was awarded to undergraduates to recognize their academic success and leadership for the chapter and campus organizations. This year’s awards and recipients were:

* Alpha Scholarship — Peter Vandermyde, Derek Whalen, Michael Fassler and Chris Seiboldt;

* James E. Ross Leadership Award — Matt Dollinger;

* David Akin Leadership Award — Justin Wassmann;

* Warren K. Wessels Award — Blake Croegaert, Jared Kempel; and

* Pawl K. Bresee Merit Scholarships – Jacob Zumwalt, Blake Croegaert, Tyler Scott, Kyle Hadden, Patrick Kelly and Brent Cross.

Information about membership at AGR is available from the chapter’s recruitment chairs, Ben Mickna at (309) 251-7828 or mickna2@illinois.edu and Chris Seiboldt at (630) 901-7916 or seibold2@illinois.edu.

For more information about Alpha Gamma Rho, visit www.aggers.com.