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May  25, 2008

Deere & Company CEO Robert W. Lane to address Class of 2008 in May 25 ceremony

Robert W. Lane, chairman and chief executive officer of Deere & Company, will address the 508 members of the class of 2008 in the college's 148th Commencement Convocation at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at the i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). Sunday morning's Baccalaureate sermon will be given by the Reverend Gail E. Bowman, chaplain of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, beginning at 10 a.m., Sunday May 25, in Augustana's Centennial Hall (3703 7th Avenue).

Robert W. Lane graduated with high honors from Wheaton College in 1972 and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1974. Following an early career in global banking, Lane joined John Deere in 1982 as manager of various operations within the Worldwide Constructions Equipment Division and later served as president and chief operating officer of Deere Credit, Inc. In 1992, he joined the Worldwide Agricultural Equipment Division where, as senior vice president, he directed equipment operations in Latin America, Australia and East Asia.

Elected chief financial officer in 1996, Lane moved to Germany where, as managing director, he 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 thereafter was elected president and chief operating officer of Deere & Company. Lane also serves as a director of General Electric Company and Verizon Communications Inc. He is an honorary director of the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, and a national director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Reverend Gail E. Bowman was appointed Chaplain at Dillard University in 1998. A native Iowan, Bowman graduated with honors from the University of Iowa and earned a degree from Harvard Law School. Bowman practiced law in Washington, D.C., first with a private law firm, then on Capitol Hill. Following a call to ministry, she enrolled in seminary at Howard University School of Divinity and worked as a youth minister and historical researcher for Howard. After receiving her Master of Divinity degree as valedictorian and ordination in the American Baptist Church, she served as Director of Admissions and Student Relations at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Bowman later was appointed College Minister at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Five years later, she accepted the invitation to move to Dillard University.

In addition to her chaplaincy work, Bowman is the Project Director for VisionQuest, Dillard's program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation. She also teaches in the Department of Religion and is author of Praying the Sacred in Secular Settings. A renowned preacher, she contributed her sermon, "After the Cistern," to the collection of sermons titled, 9.11.01: African American Leaders Respond to an American Tragedy.