Deere & Co. Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen answers questions during the JDC Media Day at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.

Deere & Co. Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen will address St. Ambrose University's graduating Class of 2019, plus be awarded an honorary degree.

The spring commencement ceremonies begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at TaxSlayer Center in Moline. St. Ambrose officials will present Allen with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his leadership in Deere's role as a partner in advancing education opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. 

Allen is the fourth Deere chairman to address a St. Ambrose graduating class, according to the news release. He follows predecessors Robert Lane in 2009, Hans Becherer in 2000 and William Hewitt in 1965.

He has served as chairman and CEO since 2010, and as a senior officer since 2001. 

Deere & Co. is the largest employer of St. Ambrose graduates, according to the release. 

"We say to our employees that our objective is to allow you to personally and professionally develop to your fullest at John Deere," Allen said in the release. "St. Ambrose is a part of doing that, so it is vital in that respect. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention St. Ambrose’s role as a faith-oriented institution fits in with our ethics. We talk about how it’s not only what you accomplish here, but how you accomplish it."

A class of around 600 students, including 181 masters' and 32 doctoral students, are candidates for graduation this spring. Members of the graduating class come from 18 states and 11 foreign countries, according to the release. 

The candidate list includes the first 30-student cohort in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program, which was introduced in fall 2016. 

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