The University of Chicago Business School Names Four Distinguished Alumni for 2007

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University of Chicago business school names distinguished alumni for 2007. Receiving awards are William Conway Jr. of Carlyle Group, Robert Lane of Deere & Company, and Clifford Asness of AQR Capital Management.

Robert Lane, chief executive of Deere & Company, has been named distinguished corporate alumnus for 2007 by the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. (

Private equity executive William Conway Jr., cofounder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, was selected distinguished entrepreneurial alumnus. Hedge fund manager Clifford Asness, was named distinguished young alumnus and social entrepreneur Craig Nakagawa was named distinguished alumnus in public service or in the public sector.

The winners will receive their awards during the school's annual alumni celebration dinner Friday, November 2 at the Fairmont Chicago hotel.

Lane joined Deere & Company in 1982 and worked his way up the ranks in several divisions becoming chairman and chief executive in 2000. Along the way he faced challenges including a recession and a farm credit crisis. Today the company is the largest manufacturer of machinery for farming and forestry, and a provider of products and services for construction and lawn and turf care.

Lane described Deere's approach to business as "No tricks, no smoke, no mirrors -- right down the middle of the field." He received his MBA from Chicago GSB in 1974.

Conway, winner of the distinguished entrepreneurial alumnus award, cofounded the Carlyle Group in 1987 and serves as managing director. With $75.6 billion under management, it is one of the largest private equity firms in the world.

Earlier in his career he was senior vice president and chief financial officer of MCI Communications. He is a 1974 graduate of the Evening MBA Program at Chicago GSB.

Asness will receive the distinguished young alumnus award. He launched a hedge fund at Goldman Sachs then left in 1998 to start his own hedge fund, AQR (Applied Quantitative Research) Capital Management, where he serves as managing and founding principal. He beat the stock market bubble in 1999 and grew his firm to manage $38 billion -- all by the time he turned 40.

Asness received an MBA from Chicago in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1994.

Craig Nakagawa, acting president of VillageReach, was named distinguished alumnus in public service or the public sector. VillageReach runs a for-profit propane business to help support its charitable mission which includes the distribution of vaccines in Africa. During the firm's start-up phase it received a $3.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ensuring its success.

Nakagawa was a member of the Chicago GSB Class of 1997.

The award winners were selected by a group of the school's alumni that voted during a videoconference in Chicago, London, Los Angeles and New York. Asian alumni voted in an online poll.

Previous winners of the distinguished alumnus awards include Joseph Neubauer, chairman and chief executive of ARAMARK, James Kilts, former chief executive of The Gillette Company, and Jamie Chico-Pardo, cochairman of TELMEX.

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the leading business schools in the world. The school's faculty includes many renowned scholars and its graduates include many business leaders across the U.S. and worldwide. It is consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the world. The Chicago Approach to Management Education is distinguished by how it leverages fundamental knowledge, its rigor, and its practical application to business challenges.

Chicago GSB offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, an executive MBA program, a Ph.D. program, open enrollment executive education and custom corporate education.

Allan Friedman (773) 702-9232

Barbara Backe (773) 702-4282

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