School of Ag Faculty Gruver featured in Prairie Farmer

When it comes to cover crops, School of Agriculture Assistant Professor Joel Gruver is the go-to guy at WIU. This month, “Prairie Farmer,” features a large photo of Gruver and an article by Josh Flint, featuring commentary from Gruver. Flint’s article identifies key points about cover crops, including:

  • why cover crops have been discouraged in Illinois;
  • how 2011 highlighted the value of planting a cover crop before corn; and
  • reasons why Illinois farmers may be taking another look at planting cover crops.
WIU School of Ag's Joel Gruver Featured in Prairie Farmer

Joel Gruver, faculty in the School of Agriculture at WIU, is featured in an article about cover crops in Illinois in the Jan. 2012 issue of "Prairie Farmer."

In “Cover it up,” Flint writes:

Gruver says for the past several years, a number of factors have worked against cover crops across the state. [He] says wet seasons have pushed Illinois farmers toward intensive fall tillage in an attempt to alleviate compaction issues. [M]any Illinois landlords seem to have an obsession with squeezing every last cash-rent dollar out of tenants. With so many paying steep cash-rent rates, Gruver says it discourages tenants from adding the risk of a cover crop. “We have to be realistic. Cover crops can add more risk,” [Gruver noted]. “Over multiple seasons, cover crops help to weatherproof a farm by improving soil quality. In the short term, dry weather can be tough on establishment, and wet weather can cause termination challenges.”

Read more about cover crops from “Prairie Farmer” in the article, “Look For New Rules For Cover Crop Reimbursement In Mid-January.”

Learn more about Gruver’s research and work with cover crops at the School of Agriculture’s Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm at

WIU alum, Iraq War vet featured in Obama campaign video

Earlier this week, Galesburg Register-Mail Assistant Editor Jay Redfern, on his “Jay Talking” blog, posted about recent WIU graduate and Iraq War veteran Michael Anderson, a 1993 Galesburg High School graduate.

Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in Western’s liberal arts and sciences program in 2011. The post includes the embedded YouTube video (see above), “Welcome Home, Michael: a Dad, a Husband, and a Marine — Happy Holidays,” featuring Anderson and his family. It was produced by the Barack Obama for President campaign and is also featured on

Redfern’s post also includes information from Anderson about how the video came about, how Anderson served in both the Army and the Marines, and how he finished his four-year college degree at WIU. It also features photos of Anderson, his family, and some photos of his time serving overseas.

Anderson’s wife, Jennifer, is currently a junior honors student in Western’s bachelor of arts general studies program.

Read about Anderson’s story and see the photos on “Jay Talking” at

WIU Alumnus Named President, CEO of Cosi, Inc.

The Cosi, Inc. restaurant chain has named Western Illinois University alumnus Carin L. Stutz as its newest president and CEO.

She will also join the company’s board of directors.

Stutz began her new position Jan. 1 after serving as the president of Global Business Development for Brinker, International, Inc. At Brinker, Stutz led franchise development and operations for 240 Chili’s and Maggiano’s restaurants around the world. Prior to that, Stutz was executive vice president of operations for Applebee’s International.

Before transferring to Applebee’s, Stutz was the Pacific Division vice president for Wendy’s International; served as Regional Operations vice president for Sodexo, U.S.A., and was vice president of Corporate Operations for NutriSystem, Inc.

Stutz received her bachelor’s of science degree in home economics from WIU in 1978. She later received her master’s degree in business administration from Mid America Nazarene University.

She is also the chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, an organization in the food service industry dedicated to developing gender-diverse leadership talent.

“Carin is a proven leader with deep operational, marketing and business development experience,” said Michael O’Donnell, CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group and a member of the Cosi board and search committee. “She is a respected leader with a track record of innovative strategic brand building, and an impressive record of accomplishment, having held leadership positions at several of our industry’s leading companies. Her energetic leadership and broad perspective will drive our company forward.”

Cosi, Inc. is a national fast-casual restaurant chain, which “has developed featured foods built around a secret, generations-old recipe for crackly crust flatbread.” There are currently 80 company-owned and 57 franchise restaurants in 17 states, the District of Columbia and the United Arab Emirates.

Stutz has many fond memories of her time at WIU, including the friends she made her first year, living in Bennett Hall.

“I’ve recently reconnected with several friends from there and we now meet for an annual reunion,” she said. “I was a member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, held several leadership positions and was the treasurer of the Panhellenic committee. I was also in the work-study program where I worked in the library all four years with many impressive female mentors there.”

Stutz and her husband, Rodger, are both graduates of WIU.

In addition, Stutz said she is excited for the opportunity she has been given with the Cosi company.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to lead this talented management team and help build a great future for the Cosi brand, our employees, franchise owners, and all who invest in our success,” said Stutz. “My mission is to energize the Cosi brand and the guest experience.”