John E. Ahern received an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, during UW commencement ceremonies May 16.

John E. Ahern, chairman of J.F. Ahern Co., Fond du Lac, Wis., was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science degree from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, during UW commencement ceremonies May 16.

The honorary doctorate is the highest recognition given by UW-Madison. The award process begins with nominations from UW-Madison academic departments, and must then be endorsed by a 28-member Committee on Honorary Degrees, the UW-Madison chancellor, the Board of Regents, and the UW-Madison Faculty Senate.

Ahern represents the fourth generation of ownership in the family company. Beginning as a storefront heating and plumbing firm in 1880, J.F. Ahern Co. has since grown into one of the country’s largest mechanical and fire protection contracting companies. J.F. Ahern Co. sales approach $200 million, with over 1,000 employees and offices in eight states.