Gov. Pritzker Announces 2020 Recipients of the Order of Lincoln

Office of the Governor
JB Pritzker

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019


Gov. Pritzker Announces 2020 Recipients of the Order of Lincoln

Scott Altman, Paul Collins, Robert Fraley, Donald McHenry, Joanne Smith, and Mavis Staples to Receiver Order of Lincoln

Governor JB Pritzker announced the 2020 recipients of the Order of Lincoln, which is the state’s highest honor for professional achievement and public service. This year’s Lincoln Laureates are Scott Altman, Paul Collins, Robert Fraley, Donald McHenry, Joanne Smith, and Mavis Staples.

“With their achievements in science, medicine, public service, the arts, agriculture and athletics, these distinguished Illinoisans have made our state proud,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “They have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the people of Illinois and I’m so proud to award them with our state’s highest honor.”

On Saturday, April 18, 2020, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois will host its 56th annual Convocation on the campus of Illinois State University. President and Mrs. Larry and Marlene Dietz are the co-chairs of the 2020 Convocation Civic Committee.

At the convocation, members of the Academy will honor the six outstanding Illinoisans with the Order of Lincoln at a formal ceremony and gala reception. These Laureates will join a cohort of 354 distinguished Illinois citizens so honored over the past 56 years.

Scott Altman, a former NASA astronaut, is a veteran of four space shuttle missions, spending more than 51 days in space. Originally from Pekin, Ill., Altman is a United States Navy Captain, engineer, and test pilot. Commissioned as a Navy ensign, he earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Naval postgraduate school. After a distinguished career as a naval pilot and test pilot, he was selected for the NASA astronaut program. Logging more than 7,000 flight hours in more than 40 types of aircrafts during his career, he retired from NASA in 2010 and joined ASRC Federal Engineering, Aerospace and Mission Systems (EAMS) and is currently the Senior Vice President for Civil Programs. Altman was inducted in the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2018.

Paul (Doug) Collins is an American basketball executive, former player, coach, and television analyst, originally from Benton, Ill. He was the first overall pick of the 1973 NBA draft and a four-time NBA All-Star. He represented the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He coached the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers. Both the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and NBA Hall of Fame have inducted Collins. He has served as an analyst for various NBA-related broadcast shows on CBS, NBC, TNT, and TBS. The basketball court at Illinois State University bears his name.

Dr. Robert (Robb) Fraley is the former executive vice president and chief technology officer at Monsanto Company. A World Food Prize Laureate, he is recognized as the father of agricultural biotechnology for developing the first genetically modified crops as a solution for farmers battling damaging pests and weeds. Raised on a farm outside Hoopeston, Ill., Fraley decided early on that he wanted to use science to develop better technology for farmers. He earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and biochemistry the University of Illinois and authored more than 100 ag-related publications and patent applications throughout his career. He has become a leading voice for innovation in agriculture, passionately working to reset the public conversation about science.

Donald F. McHenry grew up in East St. Louis, Ill. and served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1979 to 1981. He was also a Cabinet member for President Jimmy Carter. Prior to these roles, he was the United States Deputy Representative to the United Nations Security Council. McHenry was distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University from 1981 to 2014.  He also taught at Southern Illinois University, Howard, American University and Georgetown University.

Joanne C. Smith, MD, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago or RIC). The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is the global leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions. She has led the organization in its mission to provide the best patient outcomes through the highest-quality clinical care, translational research, scientific discovery and education. Today she is leading the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab into its novel vision for the future: to be the global source of science-driven breakthroughs in Human Ability.

Mavis Staples is an American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist. For more than 60 years, the Chicago native has found success recording as a solo artist and member of her family’s band, The Staple Singers. Close friends of Martin Luther King, Jr., The Staple Singers were the spiritual and musical voices of the civil rights movement. Staples was recognized as a 2016 Kennedy Center Honoree and inducted in to the Blues Hall of Fame.

“The Lincoln Academy is honored to award the Order of Lincoln to these six remarkable individuals,” said Frank Clark, chancellor of the Academy. “Abraham Lincoln exemplified what is great about our state, and the achievements and contributions of these honorees continues to illustrate the vibrancy and richness of Illinois.”

For attendance and further information, contact Executive Director Julie Kellner at 217-785-5030 or visit Connect with The Lincoln Academy of Illinois on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Stephanie Pace Marshall WCEV Radio Interview

Mosaic Interview of Stephanie Pace Marshall by Lucyna Migala

2019 Laureate Acceptance Speeches

These are the acceptance speeches of the 2019 Laureates who were awarded the Order of Lincoln by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois at the 55th Convocation, which took place at the University of Illinois Springfield on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Stephanie Pace Marshall, Chancellor, 2016 – 2019

From our Archives, 2016: Internationally recognized educator Stephanie Pace Marshall installed as the first woman to lead the prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois

Stephanie Pace MarshallSPRINGFIELD – Internationally recognized educator Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall has been installed as the Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the organization that annually bestows the state’s highest honor, The Order of Lincoln. Marshall, a past recipient of the honor, becomes the first woman to lead the Lincoln Academy in its 52-year history.

“A society is often judged by what and who it chooses to honor. Through the Lincoln Academy, Illinois has chosen to honor those whose life’s work has made us all better and moved humanity forward,” Marshall said. “I am deeply honored to serve as the Academy’s next Chancellor.”

Marshall was named to the uncompensated post by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. She succeeds outgoing Chancellor William Bennett. The Chancellor sets direction for the Lincoln Academy, oversees the nomination of individuals to receive The Order of Lincoln Award, and hosts the annual Laureate and Student Laureate Convocations.

Marshall is recognized internationally as a pioneering educational leader, speaker and writer. She is the Founding President and President Emerita of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; the Founding President of the National Consortium of Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology; and past president of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, International. She has held leadership positions at every level of education, has written more than 40 journal articles, and is the author of the award-winning book, The Power to Transform: Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life.

Marshall was invited to become a member of the Illinois Hall of Fame; the Clinton Global Initiative; the State of the World Forum; and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in London. She serves as a Trustee of the Society for Science and the Public in Washington, DC and is a director of the Fry Foundation in Chicago. She is a member of the Commercial Club, the Economic Club, the Executive Club, and the Chicago Network. Marshall holds a BA from Queens College of New York, an MA from the University of Chicago and a PH.D from Loyola University of Chicago.

As a result of her achievements, Marshall was awarded The Order of Lincoln by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 2005, the state’s highest award for achievement for those who were either born or reside in the state. She was appointed as a trustee of the Lincoln Academy in 2012 and as Vice Chancellor in 2015. In 2016, Dr. Marshall was appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner to the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. Additional biographical information can be found at

Since 1964 the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization, has honored the outstanding contributions of living Illinois citizens who by birth or residence have advanced the social, cultural and technological progress of mankind. Chaired by the incumbent Illinois Governor, the Academy also annually recognizes young Illinois leaders and names them Student Laureates of the Academy, one senior from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting public and private colleges and universities and one representing the state’s community colleges.

Frank M. Clark Named New Chancellor

Clark presided over May 18 ceremony honoring six distinguished Illinoisans

SPRINGFIELD–Frank M. Clark, the former ComEd CEO and Chicago Board of Education President, has been installed as the new Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Clark’s three-year term as head of the organization began on Saturday, May 18 following the Lincoln Academy’s annual Convocation, where six distinguished Illinoisans were recognized for their achievements.

“Abraham Lincoln exemplified what is great about our state and nation, and I am at once proud and humbled to guide the organization that invokes his name to honor our very best,” Clark said.

Clark was named a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy during the organization’s 2017 Convocation. He was the first African American to serve as the CEO of ComEd and had a 46-year career with the utility company, during which he supported minority hiring and African-American businesses through the establishment of the Business Leadership Council. Clark is the son of a Chicago Public Schools teacher, served as President of the Chicago Board of Education, and co-founded Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, a public charter high school on Chicago’s West Side. U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology Magazine named Clark to its annual list of the 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology, and Clark was ranked among the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America by Fortune magazine in 2002.

Clark has served as Vice Chancellor and a General Trustee of the Lincoln Academy. He is the 11th Chancellor in the organization’s history.

Clark presided over the 55th Annual 2019 Convocation ceremony on May 18 at the State Capitol in Springfield. The six Illinoisans who received the Order of Lincoln, which is the state’s highest honor for professional achievement and public service, included Jerry Colangelo, Edgar J. Curtis, Sheila CrumpJohnson, Benjamin K. Miller, Olufunmilayo Olopade and George F. Will. They joined 348 other distinguished Illinois citizens who have been honored by the organization during the past 55 years.

In 1975, the mission of The Lincoln Academy was expanded to include a Student Laureate program honoring more than 50 students each year, one from each four-year college and university in Illinois and one student representing our state’s community colleges, selected on the basis of demonstrated exemplary leadership and service and excellence in curricular and co-curricular programs. Funds raised at the Academy’s Order of Lincoln Convocation Ceremony in the spring help provide the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement awards and the “Lincoln Medallion” presented to each of the student laureates at a separate ceremony held each fall in Springfield.

Lester McKeever to Receive a Lifetime Leadership Award by the United Way of Metro Chicago

Regent Lester McKeever is being honored on Friday, May 17 with a Lifetime Leadership Award by the United Way of Metro Chicago at its ‘Stronger Neighborhoods’ awards luncheon.

The Lifetime Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has exhibited long-standing corporate and civic leadership, and a commitment to United Way’s vision to build a stronger Chicago region.

2018 Laureate Acceptance Speeches

These are the acceptance speeches of the 2018 Laureates who were awarded the Order of Lincoln by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois at the 54th Convocation, which took place in the Coronado Theater, Rockford on Saturday, May 5, 2018. Myrna and Major General John Borling (USAF-ret) were Co-Chairs of the Convocation.

2017 Laureate Acceptance Speeches

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.