As a part of the Founder's Day September 4, 2006, St. Ambrose University will also confer its greatest academic honor, the honorary doctorate upon two distinguished community members, 1950 St. Ambrose graduate Don Wooten and Quad-City Times’ institution Bill Wundram.
Don Wooten was sent to the seminary at St. Ambrose College by the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Tenn., at the tender age of 17. He eventually left the seminary but stayed on at St. Ambrose, earning a degree in biology in 1950. In 1952, Wooten began a 19-year association with WHBF-TV in Rock Island. During those years, he also helped edit the Catholic Messenger for the Davenport Diocese, taught at Alleman High School in Rock Island, and founded the Genesius Guild. In 1972, Wooten won the first of two terms in the Illinois State Senate, where he also served as chairman of the senate executive committee from 1977-1980. In 1980, Wooten founded WVIK, Augustana Public Radio in Rock Island. Retiring in 2003 after 22 years as general manager, Wooten continues to serve as host of several shows. In addition, he writes weekly columns for the Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus and serves as a board member for a number of arts organizations.
Bill Wundram is the associate editor of the Quad-City Times and one of the longest-serving newsmen in Iowa, if not the region. He is perhaps the only newspaper columnist in the nation to write a fresh local column seven days a week. Wundram was a reporter for many years, covering events from presidents to popes, and celebrities to plane crashes. He has received numerous accolades as a "Master Columnist" from newspaper associations, and has received many writing awards. His work has appeared in national magazines. Wundram has also had a distinguished career as an editor. He is the author of eight books, the most recent being three children's books featuring Finnius, the elephant.