ROCK ISLAND, Feb. 12, 2013 – Governor Pat Quinn today announced six individuals with strong ties to the Quad Cities as the 2013 recipients of Illinois’ highest award, The Order of Lincoln, for their achievements in science, medicine, business and conservation. The honors will be conferred on April 13 at a ceremony in Centennial Hall on the Augustana College campus in Rock Island.
The Order of Lincoln Medallion will be presented by trustees of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois at its annual Spring Convocation, which has not been held in the Quad Cities since 1973. The 2013 Laureates include:
Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee Corporation, who has been included among Forbes' annual listings of the most influential women in the world. She is a 1975 graduate of Augustana College, former chair of the college's board, and holder of an honorary doctorate from the college.
William Hammer, the Fritiof Fryxell Chair in Geology at Augustana College, is the discoverer of the first dinosaur unearthed in Antarctica. His 1991 discovery advanced scientific understanding of tectonic shift and evolutionary biology, and due largely to his work, a mountain in Antarctica has been named for Augustana.
Timothy Johnson, M.D., is the former medical editor for ABC News and author of Finding God in the Questions, a memoir of his journey both as a nationally recognized journalist and an ordained minister. While a student at Augustana College, he won the National Collegiate Oratory Championship.
Robert Lane joined Deere & Company, an Illinois-based global corporation, in 1982. He was president and CEO from 2000 to 2009, during which time he made tremendous contributions both to the company's performance and to the economic landscape of Illinois.
Robert Ontiveros is the founder of Group O Companies, one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States. Beginning with Bi-State Packaging, established in Milan, he grew the enterprise to include operations across the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He led the establishment both of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley and the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Chad Pregracke, of Hampton, was 23 in 1998 when he founded Living Lands & Waters. Today, the organization includes a fleet of river vessels with crews that work the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, and 60,000 volunteers have collected more than six million pounds of debris from our nation’s greatest rivers. Chad was the 2002 recipient of our nation’s prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service.
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The chairs for the 2013 Laureate ceremony are Samuel and Marsha Allen, and Steven and Jane Bahls. Samuel Allen is chairman and CEO of Deere & Company, and Steven Bahls is president of Augustana College.
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, unique among the 50 states, was established in 1964 to honor Illinois’ most distinguished citizens, either by birth or residence, who have brought honor to the state by their achievements. Prior recipients of The Order of Lincoln include President Ronald Reagan, the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton, Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, author David Herbert Donald, business leader Lester Crown, Nobel scientist Leon Lederman and educator Stanley Ikenberry. The annual Spring Convocation is held on a rotating basis in Springfield, Chicago and other communities across the state. When last held in the Quad Cities in 1973, the two Lincoln laureates were former Illinois Governor Richard Ogilivie and historian Frank Everson Vandiver.
For more information, visit www.thelincolnacademyofillinois.org.