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August  02, 2010

Former Deere CEO and alumnus donates $8 million to name Science Building

Former Deere CEO and 1948 Augustana alumnus Robert Hanson and his wife, Patricia Hanson, have generously given $8 million, the largest single gift in the history of Augustana College, to name the Science Building and the building's lecture hall wing at Augustana. The building will bear the Hansons' names and be called the Robert A. and Patricia K. Hanson Hall of Science. The lecture hall wing will be named for their niece, Lisa Wood, a 1982 Augustana alumna and be called the Lisa A. Wood Lecture Hall Wing.

"The family gift to Augustana was long considered," said Hanson. "I believe it is an appropriate way to show the school how the community appreciates its many contributions to the area."

Hanson grew up in East Moline and graduated with an economics major from Augustana. He entered school in the fall of 1942, but took three years off to serve in the U.S. Marines during World War II. He finished his degree in 1948. Hanson began his career with John Deere in 1950, was elected senior vice president of Deere's Overseas Division in 1973. Just five years later, Hanson became president of Deere and Company, the first person not related to John Deere to serve as president. Hanson, who would be named chairman and chief executive officer in 1982, is credited with leading the company through tough economic challenges in the 1980s while expanding and diversifying Deere and Company before retiring in 1990. Hanson also has faithfully served in a variety of roles at Augustana, including a Board of Trustee member and honorary chair in college's Authentically Augustana capital campaign.

"Bob and Patty Hanson have made incalculable contributions across our region, and have indeed shaped the Quad Cities through their leadership with vital community organizations and initiatives," said President Steve Bahls. "It gives me great pleasure that a focal point for that legacy - in which our whole community shares - will for future generations be found here on Augustana's campus in the form of the Hanson Hall of Science."

The $22 million science building opened as the largest academic building in October 1998 to house the biology, chemistry, bio-chemistry, pre-health professions, physics and engineering physics departments. The 114,000 square-foot facility contains lecture halls, classrooms, labs, faculty office space, greenhouse, cadaver lab and computer lab. The building serves as an integral part of campus life, including welcoming prospective students and hosting faculty senate meetings and community events.

                                   

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu