The Woodland Education Foundation has announced that three new members will be inducted into the Woodland Hall of Fame.
This year’s inductees are Kimberly (Ruff) Meenen, Edmond Simpson and Nathan Knuffman.
Kimberly (Ruff) Meenan
Kimberly (Ruff) Meenen is assistant dean for advancement in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She leads a team of fundraising, corporate relations, alumni engagement, special events and stewardship professionals who are responsible for raising awareness and mobilizing private support for the College of ACCES. Among his team’s accomplishments is a recent $45 million donation, the largest in college history, to create the Christopher Illinois Extension Building on campus.
Daughter of Judy Ruff and Keith Ruff, she graduated in 1982 from Woodland High School. She and her siblings (Jill, Brian and Brad) grew up on their family’s grain and cattle farm near Long Point.
She earned a master’s degree in higher education administration and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications, both from the University of Illinois. After several years at a Chicago advertising agency, she returned to Urbana as a member of the fundraising team for the College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2005, she joined the College of CAGS to lead fundraising efforts for several departments including Animal Science, Agricultural Engineering and Agricultural Communications. In 2017, she became vice-dean for promotion. She was recognized in 2021 with the ACES Professional Staff Award for Sustained Excellence.
Meenan has two sons, Mitchell (Birkey’s Precision Ag Tech sales representative) and Spencer (an agricultural education student at the University of Illinois). In her free time, she enjoys travelling, gardening and cooking. She also enjoys watching her nieces, Hailey and Morgan Ruff, exhibit their livestock and other 4-H projects. Along with her proven professional successes and unwavering commitment to her family, she epitomizes what a Hall of Fame inductee is.
Edmond Simpson is employed by Heritage Products, Inc., Crawfordsville, Indiana.
He has been employed by Heritage Products, Inc. since 1993 and continues to work where his work ethic and passion for his work is unmatched. He is someone who not only wants to excel, but also wants his team and his company to succeed.
Simpson has held several successful positions during his career with Heritage Products. He was a quality engineer for five years, a senior quality engineer for five years and was recently promoted to quality manager.
Simpson is proficient in many areas of his job. He is responsible for prioritizing, supervising and managing several projects simultaneously while respecting deadlines. He has a good knowledge of computer systems and company products. Acts independently and with good judgment, coordinates meetings and gives presentations on quality issues, process performance and future product. It makes decisions regarding the quality of incoming and outgoing products. He develops and implements countermeasures for quality and efficiency issues. It implements parts and machine improvements. He is responsible for training other team members. All of this helps to foster a teamwork environment.
He is the son of Archie and Linda Simpson, of the Manville countryside. He and his wife Terri are the parents of three children, daughter Taylin and sons Drew and Tommy, both deceased. They are Luna’s grandparents. His family also includes his sister Michelle (Lewis) and his nieces Emma, Gwen, Abby and Zoey.
Simpson graduated from Woodland High School in 1987. He attended Danville Area Community College, earning an associate’s degree in criminal justice in 1990.
He volunteers countless hours with the Indiana Special Olympics of Montgomery County. He serves on the County Advisory Council to the Director of Special Olympics Montgomery County. He was a Special Olympics basketball coach for eight years, a Special Olympics softball coach for 10 years and a unified bowling partner for 16 years. Simpson was Coach of the Year in 2009. His involvement brought so much joy to others. He is also an active member of the Woodland Heights Christian Church. He made several mission trips to help those in need. He is a youth group leader for middle school and high school.
Simpson lost two sons for a year. Through this tragedy, he used these situations to serve and comfort others who were going through difficult times. He is known for being a family man first and loves his family unconditionally. He is a man of faith, a great friend, a hard worker and a generous man. He is known by others as the most caring, generous and selfless person they know and their life is better for knowing him. He has a real servant’s heart.
Nathan Knuffman is senior associate vice chancellor for finance and operations at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Part of Nathan’s duties include advising the Chancellor on financial and operational management and being part of the Chancellor’s management team. Together they manage nearly 2,000 university employees responsible for finance, facilities, real estate, energy services and all ancillary functions including energy services, parking and transportation, student stores and Restoration.
Knuffman’s extensive experience in financial and administrative management at the UNC system office and previously at the State of North Carolina has prepared him well to lead the strategic management of the finance and operations division. Knuffman served as deputy director of the North Carolina State Office of Budget and Management. In this role, he was responsible for the strategic management of day-to-day operations, change and organizational management, as well as preparing and overseeing the governor’s budget.
He is the son of Holly and Rick Knuffman, of rural Manville. He and his wife Hallie have two daughters, Anna, 12, and Lena, 9. He has two siblings, Ryan (Mandy) Knuffman and Erin (Adam) Fitzpatrick. They reside in North Carolina.
Knuffman graduated as a salutatorian from Woodland High School in 1994. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Illinois Wesleyan University. He was recognized as Distinguished Senior in Business and Economics, Political Science Student of the Year, and American Academic and Conference Player of the Year in College Baseball (1998). He received his master’s degree in public management from the University of Maryland. He was awarded the Steny Hoyer Fellowship and Assistantship for Academic Excellence and Public Service.
Knuffman’s expertise in finance and budgeting is his strength. He has a particularly strong work ethic and has become an indispensable business partner. He has achieved a lot in his career and will continue to achieve even greater things.
The three inductees will address high school students in an assembly at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 29. Fourth-grade teacher Missy Hoover will also be honored as an Excellence in Education recipient. They will be officially honored at a ceremonial dinner at 6 p.m. that evening at Mona’s in Toluca.