- Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois business leader has been selected to receive an honorary doctorate from the Springfield campus of the University of Illinois during commencement in May.

The university’s trustees approved the degree for Evelyn Brandt Thomas on Thursday. She’s co-owner of BRANDT, a multi-million dollar agriculture company and one of Springfield’s largest employers.

Now 90 years old, Brandt Thomas started a fertilizer business with her brother in the early 1950s, using her accounting decree as she managed the books. The business grew to become BRANDT, an international company dedicated to helping growers adopt new and profitable technologies on their farms, with sales in 48 states and 45 countries.

Brandt Thomas has encouraged women to pursue business careers through her support of the Evelyn Brandt Thomas Scholarship at Illinois-Springfield.