These are the acceptance speeches of the 2017 Laureates who were awarded the Order of Lincoln by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois at the 53rd Convocation, which took place in the Robert R. McCormick Theater, Chicago History Museum, Chicago on Saturday, May 6, 2017. David Casper, President and CEO, BMO Harris Bank and Jane Casper were Co-Chairs of the Convocation.

Frank Clark

Born and raised in Chicago and a graduate of DePaul University. The first African-American Chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and worked for the company for 46 years. Current president of the Chicago Board of Education. Chairman of the Board of Directors at BMO Financial Corporation. Board Member of Aetna Inc. and Waste Management Inc. Involvement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, DePaul University, the Museum of Science and Industry and Big Shoulders Fund.

Richard Driehaus

Born and raised in Chicago and a graduate of DePaul University. Founder of Driehaus Capital Management LLC. Lifetime total charitable contributions exceed $180 million through The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and charitable trusts. Founded the Driehaus Museum in Chicago’s Nickerson Mansion to preserve and promote historic architecture. Built environment involvement includes the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, St. Ignatius College Prep, Historic Chicago Bungalow Association and Landmarks Illinois.

The Honorable James Holderman

Received his J.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Was appointed to serve on the United States District Court. Served as Chief Judge from 2006 to 2013. Initiated innovations to improve the jury trial system. Expanded the Settlement Assistance Program and renovated the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Earned the U.S. Department of Justice Award for Distinguished Service and the American Inns Court Award for Professionalism and Ethics.

R. Eden Martin

Born in Sullivan, Il and a graduate of University of Illinois. Civic leader and longtime attorney whose bold vision helped Chicago become a global city. Led the effort to expand O’Hare International Airport. Helped created the Renaissance Schools Fund to bring charter schools to impoverished areas. Retired partner at Sidley Austin LLP. Currently serves as a Life Trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Northwestern University and Chicago Historical Society.

Ryne Sandberg

Played 16 seasons and more than 2,100 games with the Chicago Cubs. Considered the best second basemen of his era. Held all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second basemen. Helped propel the 1984 Cubs to the post-season for the first time since 1945. Awarded numerous honors including an MVP and Golden Glove and was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Known for his dedication to the Cubs organization and currently serves as a Cubs ambassador.

Samuel Knox Skinner

Born in Chicago and raised in Wheaton. Graduated from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received his J.D. from DePaul College of Law. Served as the Secretary of Transportation and Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. As Secretary of Transportation, guided the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act into law, creating a new structure for the country’s transportation planning and funding. Was the President of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). Retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of USF Corporation, a leading transportation and logistics company.

Harrison Steans

Legendary Chicago banker. Devoted community philanthropist. Served as Chariman of NBD Illinois, Inc. and LaSalle National Bank. Current Chair of the Executive Committee of Financial Investments Corporations (FIC) and President and CEO of the Steans Family Foundation. Serves on the boards of Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago Botanic Garden and The Ounce of Prevention Fund.