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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will deliver the annual Robert and Mary Ferguson Lecture Monday, April 30 on Western Illinois University’s Macomb campus.
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Ray LaHood to Deliver WIU’s Robert and Mary Ferguson Lecture April 30

April 16, 2012

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MACOMB, IL – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will deliver the annual Robert and Mary Ferguson Lecture Monday, April 30 on Western Illinois University's Macomb campus.

The lecture, sponsored by WIU's College of Business and Technology (CBT), will begin at 2 p.m. in the University Union Grand Ballroom. The lecture, titled "Investing in an America Built to Last," is open free to the public.

President Barack Obama appointed LaHood as transportation secretary in January 2009. LaHood directs 55,000 federal employees and a $70 million budget for air, maritime and surface transportation missions.

From 1995-2009, LaHood served in the U.S. House of Representatives – 18th District, where he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Appropriations Committee. Before LaHood's election to the U.S. House, he served as chief of staff to 18th District U.S. Congressman Robert Michel and as district administrative assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature.

LaHood received his undergraduate degree from Bradley University in Peoria (IL), and was a junior high school teacher in his early career. He was also director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau and chief planner for the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission in Illinois.

"The College of Business and Technology is thrilled to host Secretary LaHood for this distinguished lecture," said CBT Dean Tom Erekson. "We're proud to bring a significant national figure to campus, especially one with roots in central Illinois. Secretary LaHood embodies all of the qualities of a dynamic speaker that Bob Ferguson envisioned for the WIU community. We're really looking forward to his presentation."

The Ferguson Lecture series began 22 years ago through the generosity of the late Robert (Bob) Ferguson and his wife, Mary. Dr. Ferguson passed away in December 1991.

Robert Ferguson held faculty ranks from instructor to professor and was the business education chair at WIU for 20 years. He played a key role in guiding the WIU Department of Business Education through many changes that led to his longtime goal of the establishment of the College of Business in 1966.

The lecture series is rooted in Robert Ferguson's firm belief that all college students benefit from the depth and breadth of experience, especially by seeing and hearing from key business leaders who are illustrations of success.

Past Ferguson Lecturers have included: Glen Barton then chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, Inc.; Mary Lou Quinlan, founder of Just Ask A Woman; Richard E. Rominger then deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Edward J. McManus then chief operating officer of Procurement and Logistics from American Stores Company; Robert L. Nardelli, as president and chief executive officer of GE Power Systems; Lynn Morley Martin as U.S. Secretary of Labor for the George H.W.Bush Administration; William Weiss, then chairman and chief executive officer of Ameritech; Howard Putnam, then chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines; and William Alexander Hewitt, then chairman and chief executive officer of Deere and Company.

For additional information contact CBT Director of Communications and External Relations Schuyler Isley at or (309) 298-2442.

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