51st Annual Convocation & Investiture of Laureates
Saturday, the ninth day of May
Two thousand fifteen
6pm in the evening
House of Representatives Chamber
Illinois State Capitol
Followed by the Governor’s reception in honor of the Laureates and dinner at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
The Order of Lincoln
The Order of Lincoln was established in 1964 by Proclamation of Illinois Governor Otto Kerner to honor individuals whose contributions to the betterment of humanity have been accomplished in Illinois, or whose achievements have brought honor to the state because of their identity with it, whether by birth or residence, or whose dedication to the principles of public service inspire all Illinoisans to respond to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature”.
In 1989, as part of the Academy’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Governor James R. Thompson declared the Order of Lincoln to be “the state‟s highest award” and every Illinois Governor since then has so described it.
The insignia of the Order of Lincoln is a variant of the Maltese cross (with ten points rather than eight) — a white-enameled, red-bordered Maltese asterisk. The obverse displays the Arms of the State of Illinois encircled by the inscription “Palmam Qui Meruit, Ferat” (“Let him who merits bear the palm” — words from Horatio Viscount Nelson). The reverse central disc features the likeness of President Lincoln in gold. The cross is suspended from a ribbon in the colors of the state’s symbols: red for the state bird, the cardinal; violet for the state flower; and green for the state tree, the oak.
Organization of the Academy
To insure that no political connotation should surround the award, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois was established to administer the program — an independent, non-partisan organization governed by a Board of Regents and a membership of General Trustees. The Governor of Illinois is the President of the Academy, and the Board of Regents elects a Chancellor who serves as the Academy’s Chief Executive Officer. The General Trustees are appointed by the Governor or elected by the Academy. Ten Rectors serve as ex officio trustees and assist in identifying potential nominees for the Order of Lincoln. The Academic Trustees are the chief executive officers of all four-year colleges and universities in Illinois and three members at large. At the discretion of the Regents, a former Governor may be elected a Regent for Life, and a former Regent, General Trustee, or Rector who has served in office for ten years or more may be elected an Emeritus Member, in recognition of distinguished service to the Academy.