Lane, Wonio to be honored at SAU commencement

Jeanne Wonio prays outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf as a member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Wonio will be honored with an honorary degree from St. Ambrose University in Davenport on Saturday.

DAVENPORT — Deere & Company Chairman and CEO Robert Lane will deliver the 2009 St. Ambrose University spring commencement address Saturday, May 9.

A total of 700 diplomas will be awarded: 485 bachelor’s degrees, 201 master’s degrees and 14 doctoral degrees. Lane and Jeanne Wonio, an active volunteer in the Catholic community, will receive honorary degrees.

The commencement ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. at the i wireless Center in Moline, Ill.

Lane will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service for his career as a leader of global commerce, good corporate citizenship and for making a positive impact around the world through his personal and professional service.


Lane has served as chairman and chief executive officer of Deere & Company since August 2000. He joined Deere & Company in 1982, initially managing various operations within the Worldwide Construction Equipment Division and later serving as president and chief operating officer of Deere Credit Inc. In 1992, he was named senior vice president of the Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division, directing equipment operations in Latin America, Australia and East Asia. Lane was elected chief financial officer in 1996, and later led Deere’s agricultural equipment operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and the nations of the former Soviet Union. He returned to the United States as president of the Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division, and was later elected president and chief executive officer.

Lane is a director of General Electric Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. He is a trustee of the University of Chicago, an honorary director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and a national director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

He earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and an MBA from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Lane and his wife, Patricia, have three adult children and reside in Moline, Ill.

“We are very proud to honor and recognize Robert Lane, an outstanding leader in our community,” says Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, president of St. Ambrose University. “It is fitting to have Deere & Company’s chairman and CEO deliver the commencement address given St. Ambrose’s long history with Deere, including numerous college of business collaborations and several hundred Ambrose alumni who are employed by Deere.”

Wonio will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for her spirit of faithful service on behalf of the sanctity of human life and her unwavering devotion to the power of prayer and to her Catholic faith.

A Quad-City community volunteer for 30 years, Wonio became involved in the Catholic community upon her graduation from St. Ambrose in 1974. She is active within the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf and has served on the boards of Hope and Healing Ministries and since 1977, Quad City Right to Life. She prays outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf as a member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.

A volunteer in the spiritual care department at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, Wonio has also served as liaison to the social action department of the Diocese of Davenport.

Nationally, Wonio was a member of the steering committee of Search for Common Ground: The Abortion Dialogue Project; participated in the Religious Dialogue on Abortion at the Aspen Institute; and was a presenter at the fifth annual Celebrate Life Conference held at the University of California at Berkeley.

For more than 20 years Wonio has been a member of Moms in Touch, a group that meets weekly to pray for their children’s schools.

Wonio and her husband, Rand, who reside in Davenport, have eight children, three of whom are fourth-generation St. Ambrose graduates. The Wonios are members of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport.

“As a Catholic university we are pleased to honor a community volunteer who embodies the Roman Catholic Church’s spirit of service,” says Sr. Lescinski. “Mrs. Wonio has been tireless in her work, and many organizations have benefited from her commitment and diligence.”

Support The Catholic Messenger’s mission to inform, educate and inspire the faithful of the Diocese of Davenport – and beyond! Subscribe to the print and/or e-edition, or make a one-time donation, today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on