Mosaic Interview of Stephanie Pace Marshall by Lucyna Migala
From our Archives, 2016: Internationally recognized educator Stephanie Pace Marshall installed as the first woman to lead the prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – 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 www.stephaniepacemarshall.com.
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.
Student Laureate Speech Accepting on Behalf of the 2015 Laureate Cohort
Old State Capitol Building, House of Representatives
November 7, 2015
I will begin my speech with two quotes from President Lincoln, both of which I’ve selected for their unforgettable language and inspiration.
President Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” He also said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
If there’s one point I hope you remember from those two quotes, it is this: for President Lincoln, trees were a source of profound inspiration.
But what do I mean by this?
Well, let’s just say President Lincoln knew how to captivate an audience, and this was in part due to his unique mastery with words. There are so many metaphors you can associate with trees: “family tree,” “root of the problem,” “sap momentum”, even “hedge funds”. But as someone interested in the sciences, my personal favorite stems from a well-known phrase, the “tree of life.”
Trees are strong, start from a mere seed and grow to become enormous, complex structures that often endure four seasons of harsh weather. Here in Illinois, they must be especially tough to survive the long winter! Trees wither, die, and yet are somehow re-born again each year. Clearly, trees are good metaphors for hopeful, positive inspiration.
But I think our President was far more clever than this. I believe he chose to use “trees” as a metaphor for an even more obvious reason: you see them every day! Think about a day in your life when you didn’t see a tree. I certainly can’t recall such a time, and I’m from the city.
President Lincoln managed to find inspiration in things he encountered each and every day, which is an insight we should learn from and implement in our own lives.
Student Laureates…in the spirit of President Lincoln, I too encourage you to think about that something or perhaps that someone who has inspired you. Because whether or not you believe leaders are born, or that leaders are made, here I suggest that leadership needs to be sustained. For instance, without the day-to-day support of teachers, friends, family, and mentors, I certainly would not be standing here before you giving a speech about motivational trees and preparing myself to receive this truly outstanding award. I am here today because of my hard work, but also because so many others believed in my potential as an individual, and as a leader.
And so, on behalf of the entire two thousand and fifteen Student Laureate Cohort, I would like to express our appreciation and extend a sincere thank you to all members affiliated with the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Your recognition will no doubt encourage us to continue making outstanding contributions in our local, national, and global communities.
To conclude, I would like to say that it is truly an honor to be amongst such talent here today. To the members of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, thank you again for supporting the next generation of leaders. And to my fellow Student Laureates, I would like to congratulate you once more on your achievements.
Oh! And before I forget…the next time you look at a tree, I hope you will find comfort and inspiration in what you can, and most certainly WILL, achieve.
Cynthia J. Avila
The University of Chicago ‘16