William Timpner

William Timpner, Pinckneyville, graduates from Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Saturday, Dec. 17, with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural systems and education.  (Photo by Russell Bailey)

December 14, 2016

Graduating senior prepared to take next steps

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- When he eventually returns to the family farm, he’ll be the sixth William Timpner to manage the family’s Pinckneyville area acreage. 

William Vaino Timpner, the middle name distinguishing him from his similarly named predecessors, graduates from Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Saturday, Dec. 17, with a major in agricultural systems and education and a minor in agribusiness economics. 

“I chose agricultural systems and education because it’s a versatile degree,” he said. “But I think I might go into teaching. I started college at Rend Lake College, and I loved it there. I considered a few other colleges before deciding on SIU to finish with a bachelor’s degree. I knew I could get what I needed here, a degree that would help me get a job.” 

Timpner is engaged to marry Mary Cathryn Walker on June 17 next summer. She’s from Texas. They met through a mutual friend when they attended a conference in Atlanta, Ga., for young Christians. Their initial courtship was old-fashioned: Timpner said they exchanged letters -- the snail-mail kind, not emails.  

Walker, whom Timpner described as “a beautiful person and talented musician,” graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and currently teaches first grade in her hometown of Abilene. He’ll join her there and, under a teacher certification program that emphasizes experience and in-the-classroom training, he hopes to become certified as a teacher in Texas. The two will return to Illinois after a year or so, Timpner said. 

“We definitely plan on living on the farm -- being on the farm is what I love,” he said. “And yes, Mary Cathryn is excited about it, she’s ready for farm life.” 

The Timpner farm has evolved over the years from raising beef, then hogs, and is now a grain and fish farm. The family began an aquaculture project in 2000 in a strip mine lake on the property. An aquaculture specialist with the Fisheries and Illinois Aquaculture Center at SIU provided assistance and counsel as they learned how to raise healthy and marketable striped bass. Similarly, Timpner plans to keep his eyes on new trends and steady business practices when it comes to farming. 

Timpner works hard. He holds a 4.0 grade point average, he helps farm, and he goes to visit his fiancée in Texas when he can. He’s a humble and reverent man. “I really want to thank my family and Mary Cathryn for all they have done for me,” he said. “I’m thankful for my family and friends and each blessing God has given me. All that I have done, have done and will do goes to God. He gave me everything, I owe it all to him.” 

The fall commencement ceremony for undergraduate, graduate and professional students is at 2 p.m., Dec. 17, at the SIU Arena. The commencement ceremony is open to the public, and there is no ticket requirement.