50 Notable Alumni

Dennis Riggs


Associate in Applied Science

Engineering Science/Electronics Engineering


A fourth-generation Champaign County farmer, Dennis is the first recipient of the Parkland College Distinguished Alumnus Award.  As a student, Dennis helped develop a program within the Parkland Electronics curriculum for visually impaired students. After graduation, he taught computer classes and helped start Parkland's Agricultural Training Institute in 1995.   

The 2007 News-Gazette Farm Leader of the Year, Dennis has served on the board of the Champaign County Farm Bureau. He currently serves on the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the CU in the Morning Networking Group (past president), among others. He is co-founder of the Prairie iNet wireless broadband internet company, helped implement the Rural House Numbering System for Champaign County, and helped develop a Farm Bureau policy that initiated yellow gas caps on E-85 vehicles nationwide. He also served on the Parkland College Foundation Board of Directors in the mid-1990s.

Former host of a local cable TV program "Champaign County Agriculture Today," Dennis is a recipient of the Public Relations Society's Silver Anvil award for his role during the first Farm Aid program in Champaign. Locally, he is a Heritage High School FFA Honorary Chapter Farmer.

Dennis's most memorable moment at Parkland was "when I was honored and nominated for the Distinguished Alumnus Award. I was on stage and asked to say a few words to the graduates. I remembered thinking of this great opportunity to share my years of successful life experiences, and how could I get across that the Parkland education these students had received, could guide and direct them for the rest of their lives."