In Recognition of the Illinois Bicentennial

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois

Is Proud to Present All Honorees of the Order of Lincoln

Our State’s Highest Honor

From 1964 to the Present Day

Laureates are named in the year prior to each induction. Laureates are listed here by the year of induction.

* – indicates deceased

1997, 1996

1997 Laureates

Gwendolyn Brooks., 1997 Laureate * – Communications

Gwendolyn Brooks was the Poet Laureate of Illinois from 1968 until her death in 2000. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 for Annie Allen, making her the first African American to receive the Pulitzer. Brooks was the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, and in 1976 became the first African American woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Leonard H. Lavin, 1997 Laureate

Leonard H. Lavin, 1997 Laureate * – Business and Industry

Leonard Lavin was a major philanthropist and the founder of the Alberto Culver Company, which employs thousands of people in more than 130 countries. Lavin and his wife Bernice created an endowed scholarship for inner city Chicagoland students at Lewis University in Romeoville and entrepreneurial scholarships at colleges in California and Washington. Lavin was also a world renowned thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and received a lifetime achievement award from his horse racing colleagues.

Ramsey E. Lewis, Jr., 1997 Laureate – The Performing Arts

Chicago native Ramsey Lewis is a composer, pianist and jazz legend who won three Grammy Awards, sold seven gold albums and is an internationally-acclaimed performing artist. Lewis joined his first jazz band at age 15 and went on to have his first top-ten hit in 1965 followed by decades of hit recordings, albums and performances. Lewis hosted the Legends of Jazz nationwide radio program, was artistic director of Jazz at Ravinia in Highland Park, and mentored thousands of young musicians during his prolific career.

Robert H. Michel, 1997 Laureate * – Government

Peoria native Robert Michel was a long-term Congressman and U.S. House Minority Leader whose advice and support were sought for years by Presidents and world leaders. Michel was the Republican leader in Congress from 1981 to 1995 and Minority Whip prior to that. Michel received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was one of the first recipients of the Congressional Distinguished Service Award. Michel was also a decorated war hero who was severely wounded in the D-Day invasion during World War II.

Jerry M. Reinsdorf, 1997 Laureate – Business

Jerry Reinsdorf is the owner of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox and built the new Comiskey Park (now U.S. Cellular Field) and United Center sports stadiums. Reinsdorf’s Bulls won six NBA Championships in the 1990s and the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. Reinsdorf is considered one of professional basketball’s most influential owners and was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 as a contributor.

Seymour Simon, 1997 Laureate

Seymour Simon, 1997 Laureate * – Law

Seymour Simon was an Illinois Supreme Court Justice who was an outspoken advocate for individual rights. Simon was born in Chicago and served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, as a Chicago Alderman, Cook County Board member, and president of the Cook County Forest Preserve District. He was an appellate court judge from 1974 to 1980 and served on the Illinois Supreme Court from 1980 to 1988. Simon was also the founding chairman of the Chicago Debate Commission which partners with Chicago Public Schools to administer the citywide Chicago Debate League.

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1997 Laureate

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1997 Laureate * – Religion

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was the Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 until his death in 1996. Bernardin had served as Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta, General Secretary of the National Council of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop of Cincinnati before being named Archbishop of Chicago. He was elevated to Cardinal in February 1983 by Pope John Paul II. Bernardin was widely acclaimed for actively promoting ecumenical and interfaith relations and helped form the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago in 1985.

1996 Laureates

Willard L. Boyd, 1996 Laureate – Business and Education

Willard L. Boyd was president of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History from 1981 to 1996 and ensured that the Museum occupies its rightful position of worldwide leadership in cultural, geological and biological research. He was one of the first winners of the Charles Frankel Prize awarded in 1989 by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Boyd was also the president of the University of Iowa from 1969 to 1981.

Stanley O. Ikenberry, 1996 Laureate – Education

Stanley O. Ikenberry at age 44 became the youngest president of the University of Illinois. Ikenberry led the U of I from 1979 to 1994 and guided the institution into a position of world leadership in many academic and research fields. The University’s Medical Center and Chicago Circle campuses were consolidated during Ikenberry’s term into the largest and most comprehensive research university in the metro area, and he led the creation of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, 1996 Laureate

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, 1996 Laureate * – Government

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a graduate of Mt. Vernon High School, was the first woman to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations and was a member of President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council from 1981 to 1985. Kirkpatrick was an ardent anti-communist and longtime Democrat who served as Reagan’s foreign policy adviser during his 1980 campaign, becoming a member of the Republican Party after Reagan’s election. Kirkpatrick is also an author, foreign affairs analyst and syndicated newspaper columnist.

Sid Luckman, 1996 Laureate * – Sports

Sid Luckman, Chicago Bears quarterback from 1939 through 1950, led the Bears to four NFL championships, was selected the league’s Most Valuable Player three times, was named an All-Pro seven times, and is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Luckman was the first modern T-formation quarterback and was considered the greatest long-range passer of his time. Luckman spent 14 years coaching for the Bears and Notre Dame, and is famous for his generous donations to numerous charities.

Alan Schriesheim, 1996 Laureate

Alan Schriesheim, 1996 Laureate – Science

Dr. Alan Schriesheim was the director of the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago from 1984 to 1996 and guided the institution into a world-class, applied science center in support of national interests. Schriesheim was a research chemist with the National Bureau of Standards before joining Exxon in 1956, where he rose to Director of Corporate Research during his 27 years with the company. Schriesheim advised the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, and many private research organizations on matters relating to energy and its uses and holds 22 United States patents.

1995, 1994

1995 Laureates

James S. Brady, 1995 Laureate

James S. Brady, 1995 Laureate * – Government

James S. Brady, a Centralia native, was appointed President Ronald Reagan’s press secretary in 1980 and was severely wounded in a 1981 attempt on the President’s life. Brady became an advocate for persons with disabilities and for the reform of federal gun laws. The White House press briefing room was renamed the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in his honor.

Joseph B. Kirsner, 1995 Laureate * – Medicine

Dr. Joseph B. Kirsner, a University of Chicago professor of medicine, was one of the world’s foremost experts on digestive diseases. Kirsner was a pioneer in the understanding and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and understanding the increased risk of colon cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis. The university has named a center for the study of digestive diseases for Dr. Kirsner, who joined the school’s medical department in 1935.

William H. Kurtis, 1995 Laureate – Communications

William M. (Bill) Kurtis was a broadcast journalist and investigative reporter who anchored CBS network and Chicago television newscasts and won awards for his coverage of regional, national and international news events. Kurtis also produced many documentaries for commercial, cable and public television. The programs he started continue to air on PBS, The History Channel, A & E Network, and CNBC.

Robert H. Malott, 1995 Laureate

Robert H. Malott, 1995 Laureate * – Business

Robert H. Malott was chairman of the board and CEO of the Chicago-based chemical manufacturer F.M.C. Corporation and was a long-time contributor to civic, educational and corporate organizations. Malott helped guide the University of Chicago, the Lyric Opera, National Park Foundation, Argonne National Laboratory, and many other organizations as a trustee or board member. Malott also led a national battle for product liability law reform.

Arnold R. Weber, 1995 Laureate

Arnold R. Weber, 1995 Laureate – Education

Arnold R. Weber, chancellor of Northwestern University, is the author of eight books and numerous articles on economic policy and industrial and labor relations. Weber was a professor at the University of Chicago, then the president of the University of Colorado before serving ten years as president of Northwestern. Weber helped stabilize the university’s finances and enhance the Evanston campus during his tenure.

1994 Laureates

Alan J. Dixon, 1994 Laureate

Alan J. Dixon, 1994 Laureate * – Government

Belleville native Alan J. Dixon served in the Illinois General Assembly from 1951 to 1971, as Illinois Treasurer from 1971 to 1977, Illinois Secretary of State from 1977 to 1981, and as U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1981to 1993. As Senator, Dixon was well-known for his keen attention to constituents’ needs and an old-fashioned glad-handing style that won him the nickname “Al the Pal.” After his Senate service, Dixon chaired the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 1994 and 1995.

Robert W. Galvin, 1994 Laureate

Robert W. Galvin, 1994 Laureate * – Business and Industry

Robert W. Galvin took Schaumburg-based Motorola Corporation from a car radio and wartime walkie-talkie manufacturer into a global maker of color television sets, cell phones and other electronic age communications devices. Always eager to exploit new markets and diversify product lines, Galvin was a visionary entrepreneur who urged the development of Motorola products used in police radios, hearing aids, semiconductors, missile guidance systems, satellite communications, and rockets that went to the moon and Mars.

Steven R. Nagel, 1994 Laureate * – Government

Canton native Steven R. Nagel was an astronaut who flew or commanded the space shuttles Discovery, Challenger, Atlantis and Columbia. Nagel attended Canton High School and the University of Illinois before serving as a U.S. Air Force pilot and instructor in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Nagel logged 723 hours in space by the end of his career as a NASA astronaut in 1995. Nagel’s NASA career had another highlight, as it was there that he met and married a fellow astronaut, Linda M. Godwin.

The Rev. John T. Richardson, 1994 Laureate – Education

The Rev. John T. Richardson was the president and chancellor of DePaul University, leading the educational institution from 1981 to 1993. Richardson presided over the transformation of DePaul from a small, Catholic commuter school to the diverse, urban university it is today. The International Human Rights Law Institute, the Institute for Business Ethics and the Center for Urban Education were all founded under his direction.

Kay Smith, 1994 Laureate

Kay Smith, 1994 Laureate – The Arts

Vandalia native Kay Smith was a watercolor artist famous for her depictions of Illinois’ historic and Abraham Lincoln-related sites, Ernest Hemingway sites, and World War II scenes. Smith attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and worked as a commercial illustrator before turning her attention to historical subjects to raise awareness of the state’s and the nation’s heritage. Smith’s works are displayed at the Illinois Executive Mansion, the Pritzker Military Museum, and in more than 30 books.

Anthony J. Watson, 1994 Laureate – Government

Anthony J. Watson grew up in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing complex and went on to become only the second African American to command a U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine. Watson was president of his 1970 class at the U.S. Naval Academy and served on five submarines, including as the commander of the U.S.S. Jacksonville. He later was the deputy commandant of the Naval Academy and retired as a Rear Admiral. Watson received the American Heritage & Freedom Award for making a noble contribution to the progress, welfare and prestige of the black community.


Etta Moten Barnett, 1993 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Etta Moten Barnett, a Texas native who moved to Chicago in 1937, was one of the first African American actresses to play major roles in both the movies and on Broadway. In 1933, she danced with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the movie, Flying Down to Rio. In 1942 Barnett took over the Broadway role of Bess in Porgy and Bess. Barnett spent decades giving inspirational performances and lectures to African American youngsters in colleges and universities across the country.

John H. Bryan, 1993 Laureate

John H. Bryan, 1993 Laureate – Business and Social Services

John H. Bryan, a Mississippi native who moved to Chicago in 1969, was the 1992 Crain’s Chicago Business Executive of the Year. Under his leadership as Chairman of the Board and CEO, Sara Lee Corporation contributed to non profit organizations promoting culture and the arts and providing assistance to the needy and disadvantaged. Bryan was honored by the French Republic with the Legion of Honor for his cultural and civic contributions, including playing a major role in the United State’s participation in the French Bicentennial celebration.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, 1993 Laureate * – Science

Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar was the 1983 Nobel Prize winner in physics for his study of the evolution of stars, and has contributed to the understanding of radiation transfer in astrophysical gases, relative theory, and the behavior of black holes in space. Chandrasekhar also received the National Medal of Science and the Coply Medals of the Royal Society of London. He joined the University of Chicago in 1937 and was Professor Emeritus in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Lester E. Fisher1993 Laureate

Lester E. Fisher1993 Laureate – Science

Dr. Lester Fisher retired in 1991 after 29 years as curator of the world-famous Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. A Chicago native, Fisher was internationally recognized for his work in the preservation and breeding of endangered species, and for his zoo renovation program that eliminated bar cages and allowed animals to cluster in family groups. Fisher was the past president of the American Association of Zoological Parks, and hosted WGN-TV Chicago’s Ark in the Park program for many years.

Richard Hunt, 1993 Laureate – The Arts

Richard Hunt, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, was an innovator in the use of metals in large outdoor sculptures. His works are permanently displayed in historic parks and at major buildings throughout the United States, including the huge monument to former Illinois Governor John P. Altgeld in Chicago’s Jonquil Park. Hunt served as Commissioner of the National Museum of American art at the Smithsonian Institution.

James J. O’Connor, 1993 Laureate

James J. O’Connor, 1993 Laureate – Business and Social Services

James J. O’Connor, a Chicago native, was the co-founder and chairman of the Big Shoulders Fund, a charity that supports inner-city Catholic schools. The former CEO of Unicom and its subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, also served in leadership capacities with Catholic Charities, the board of the Field Museum of Natural History, the American Cancer Society, the Chicago Urban League, and numerous other civic organizations. O’Connor was named a Knight of Malta, an international designation bestowed on Catholic laymen for outstanding contributions to the mission of the church.

1992, 1991

1992 Laureates

Marajen Stevick Chinigo, 1992 Laureate

Marajen Stevick Chinigo, 1992 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Marajen Stevick Chinigo was one of the state’s leading business women and the head of one of the largest remaining independent, family-owned news distribution companies in the nation, which included the Champaign News-Gazette, several weekly Illinois newspapers, two radio stations and television production businesses. Chinigo was an early television pioneer and established the first 24-hour electronic newspaper in Illinois. She was also an acclaimed painter and had showings of her work in several states.

William B. Graham, 1992 Laureate * – Business

William B. Graham lead international health-care products and systems supplier Baxter International Inc. of Chicago for several decades, working his way up through the ranks to President and CEO 1954, Chairman of the Board in 1971 and Senior Chairman in 1985. Graham served as president of the American Pharmaceutical Association and president of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. Graham also helped bring the Lyric Opera of Chicago through a period of financial difficulty to a sound world-class cultural institution.

John O. Honnold, Jr., 1992 Laureate * – Government and Law

John O. Honnold, an Illinois native, was a world-renowned law professor who helped frame the commercial relationship between post-Communist eastern Europe and the western world. From 1969 to 1974, Honnold was Chief of the United Nations’ International Trade Law Branch and Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. He played a key role in the development of the first international sales treaty, which took effect in 1988 and includes more than 30 countries. This treaty was of vital importance as former Communist nations entered into trade on an equal footing with the rest of the world.

Paul C. Lauterbur, 1992 Laureate

Paul C. Lauterbur, 1992 Laureate * – Science

Dr. Paul C. Lauterbur, a resident of Champaign-Urbana, was the developer of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, known as MRI. This technology enables physicians to peer inside the human body and spot signs of serious illness without having to expose the patient to either harmful radiation or surgery. Lauterbur’s developments are particularly useful in locating and diagnosing brain tumors. Lauterbur was the first recipient of the $290,000 Bower Award from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which is presented to the scientist who “embodies the practical, entrepreneurial and humanitarian spirit of Benjamin Franklin.”

Osvaldo I. Lopez, 1992 Laureate – Medicine

Lake Forest resident Dr. Osvaldo Lopez was a world-renowned eye expert whose inventions have helped thousands of people retain their sight. Lopez was chairman of the Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology. He also designed and co-designed several devices that help those with visual problems, including the Ultrasonic Fragmentator Needle and Syringe, the Lopez-Horn Intraocular Lens and the Lopez Intraocular Lens Implant. Lopez was recognized for his work by nations around the world.

W. Clement Stone, 1992 Laureate

W. Clement Stone, 1992 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Chicago native W. Clement Stone was widely known for his Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) philosophy that has been carried to millions of people through his self-help books and articles. Beginning with a $100 investment in 1922, Stone established an insurance company that would eventually employ thousands across the country and come to be known as the Combined Insurance Company of America. This successful business venture was the first test of Stone’s PMA philosophy, for which he was eventually nominated for the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize. The W. Clement Stone and Jessie V. Stone Foundation has donated millions to groups involved in volunteerism, youth welfare, religion and education.

1991 Laureates

Arnold O. Beckman, 1991 Laureate * – Business and Science

Arnold O. Beckman was a chemist who invented the pH meter, the DU spectrophotometer and other devices which revolutionized the study of chemistry and biology. He also founded the first transistor company, giving rise to Silicon Valley. Beckman was born in Cullom, Illinois, moved with his family to Bloomington when he was a teen, and graduated from the University of Illinois. Beckman and his wife were among the top philanthropists in the nation, and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Technology at the University of Illinois was built with their generous gift.

Harry A. Blackmun, 1991 Laureate * – Government and Law

Nashville, Illinois native Harry A. Blackmun was a United States Supreme Court Justice from 1970 to 1994 who is best known as the author of the high court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion. Blackmun practiced law in Minneapolis until he was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit by President Eisenhower, and was then appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Nixon. Blackmun retired from the Supreme Court in 1994 and was succeeded by Stephen Breyer.

Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley, 1991 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley were conservationists and philanthropists whose donations and activism preserved natural areas and historic properties. Gaylord was president and chairman of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, the world’s largest commercial printing firm, but he and his wife Dorothy were best known for their involvement with such organizations as the Conservation Foundation, World Wildlife U.S. and the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission. The Donnelleys gave the state the 800-acre Donnelley-Depue Wildlife Area along the Illinois River and created the Oak Prairie Open Space Preserve near Libertyville.

Norman A. Ross, 1991 Laureate * – Business and Communications

Norman A. Ross was a fixture on Chicago TV and radio and a lifelong supporter of Chicago civic and cultural causes. Ross won an Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award for his broadcast work on such stations as WGN and WFMT Radio and WLS-TV. Ross helped start Chicago United, a group that promotes economic diversity by providing networking opportunities for minority business leaders, and was also active in groups that spanned the arts, neighborhood and economic development, health care and education.

James R. Thompson, 1991 Laureate – Government

James R. Thompson was the longest-serving Governor in Illinois history, leading the state from 1977 to 1991 and winning four gubernatorial elections. Thompson started his government service career in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois by President Nixon, where he obtained convictions in several high-profile cases involving current and former elected officials. Thompson also served on the national commission that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Elmer H. Wavering, 1991 Laureate * – Business

Quincy native Elmer H. Wavering developed what would become the first commercial automobile radio and later rose through the ranks to become president of Motorola Inc. Wavering was also part of the team that developed the first automotive alternator that could be mass-produced. During World War II Wavering led an effort to produce quartz crystals for military radios and radar, a major contribution to the Allied war effort.

1990, 1989

1990 Laureates

Mortimer J. Adler, 1990 Laureate

Mortimer J. Adler, 1990 Laureate * – Education and Communications

Mortimer J. Adler was a philosopher and educator who helped shape the way a generation viewed the world. Adler was a professor at the University of Chicago, co-founded the Great Books of the Western World program, and was instrumental in developing a new edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica with a fresh approach to presenting knowledge on its pages. Adler’s How to Read a Book became a bestseller, and his How to Think About God have helped guide the discussion of religious thought.

Marshall L. Burman, 1990 Laureate * – Law

Marshall L. Burman was a Chicago attorney, civic leader, philanthropist, and a Chancellor and Regent of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Burman was involved in leadership roles with the AMTRAK Financial Investment Advisory Panel, Illinois State Board of Investment, Lincoln Park Zoological Society, and The Standard Club of Chicago. He received numerous awards and honors for his civic involvement, including the Boy’s Club Medallion and the Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award.

James S. Kemper, Jr., 1990 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

James S. Kemper Jr. was the chairman and CEO of Kemper Insurance Companies and a recovered alcoholic who became a pioneer in national alcoholism rehabilitation programs. While chairman of the Kemper Companies, he created an employee assistance program for substance abuse that became a national model. Kemper was appointed by Presidents Carter and Reagan to national commissions on drunk driving. His passion for golf led to company sponsorship of the Kemper Open on both the PGA and LPGA circuit.

Leon M. Lederman, 1990 Laureate

Leon M. Lederman, 1990 Laureate – Science

Leon M. Lederman founded the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora and was a Nobel Prize recipient for his research on neutrinos. Lederman also received the Wolf Prize in Physics for his research on quarks and leptons, and the Vannevar Bush Award for extraordinary contributions to understanding the basic forces and particles of nature. Lederman was Director Emeritus of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia.

James B. Stockdale, 1990 Laureate

James B. Stockdale, 1990 Laureate * – Government

Abingdon, Illinois native Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale was the senior U.S. Navy officer held captive during the Vietnam War. Commander Stockdale was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam in 1965 and received the Medal of Honor for his courage during seven years as a prisoner of war. Stockdale was president of the Naval War College from 1977 to 1979, and was a candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1992 election on Ross Perot’s independent ticket.

William C. Warfield, 1990 Laureate

William C. Warfield, 1990 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

William C. Warfield was a singer and actor famous for his bass-baritone voice heard for years on the international stage and in the movie musical Showboat. Warfield was awarded the 1984 Grammy Award in the Spoken Word category for his narration of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait. Warfield accepted an appointment as Professor of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1975, and in 1994 he moved to Northwestern University’s School of Music.

1989 Laureates

John E. Corbally, 1989 Laureate * – Education

John Corbally was president of the University of Illinois from 1971 to 1979 and helped to expand the university’s Chicago campus and the school’s veterinary and agriculture programs. When state budget cuts threatened the university system, Corbally enlisted former and current students in a campaign to successfully retain state funding. Corbally was also the first president of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation, a charitable organization providing millions in funding each year to support creative individuals and institutions.

C. Geraldine Freund, 1989 Laureate

C. Geraldine Freund, 1989 Laureate * – The Performing Arts and Social Services

C. Geraldine Freund and her psychiatrist husband Julius founded Chicago’s Fairview Hospital, the first exclusively psychiatric hospital in Illinois to be fully accredited. Using largely her own funds, Freund also founded the International Dance Festival of Stars and brought ballet superstars such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova to Chicago. Freund was a Regent of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and helped to found the organization’s Student Laureate Program, which annually honors one top senior student from each of the state’s colleges and universities.

Eugene D. Funk, Jr., 1989 Laureate * – Agriculture

Long-time McLean County resident Eugene D. Funk, Jr. was the president of Funk Seeds Company, one of the nation’s top suppliers of agricultural products. He had a direct connection with Abraham Lincoln, who represented the Funk family farm as their attorney in the mid-1800s. Today, Funk is remembered through a historic preservation grant program administered by the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission, which provides funding for up to 50 percent of the cost of local exterior restoration projects.

Hanna H. Gray, 1989 Laureate – Education

Hanna H. Gray was the president of the University of Chicago from 1978 to 1993, the first woman in the United States to be full president of a major university. Gray was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University and served as acting president of Yale University before coming back to Illinois to lead the University of Chicago. Gray was a director or board member for several institutions and organizations, and held honorary degrees from more than 60 institutions.

Elizabeth N. Paepcke, 1989 Laureate * – Social Services

Elizabeth Paepcke was called the “Grand Dame of Aspen” for her love and promotion of the small Colorado mining town that she helped transform into a world-renowned skiing destination. Paepcke was a student at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. After her marriage, Paepcke and her husband moved to Aspen and began their decades-long support for the area that made it an international sports and arts mecca from the late 1940s onward.

1988, 1987

1988 Laureates

Dwayne O. Andreas, 1988 Laureate * – Agriculture

Dwayne O. Andreas led the Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company for nearly 30 years, and his mastery of the global grain trade and familiarity with world leaders helped push the company into a farm products giant and one of America’s top businesses. Andreas counted among his friends U.S. Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and was largely responsible for making soybeans a top American export. Today ADM controls much of the world’s corn, soybean, wheat, cocoa and oil seed production.

John Chancellor, 1988 Laureate * – Communications

John Chancellor was a familiar face for decades as millions of Americans over several decades turned to his television broadcasts to get their news. Chancellor attended the University of Illinois and was hired as a reporter in 1947 for the Chicago Daily News, but shortly thereafter joined a Chicago television news station. Chancellor rose to be a correspondent for the Huntley-Brinkley Report, host of the NBC Today show, director of the Voice of America, and from 1970 to 1982 anchored the NBC Nightly News. The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism presents the John Chancellor Award each year in his honor for excellence in journalism.

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, 1988 Laureate

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, 1988 Laureate * – Law

Abraham Lincoln Marovitz was a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and was the state’s first ever Jewish state senator. Marovitz was born to immigrant parents and grew up in Chicago’s Maxwell Street neighborhood, where his work as a teenage office boy in a law firm charted his future life course. Marovitz was an assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, private practice lawyer, an Illinois State Senator from 1939 to 1950, and then a Superior Court Judge. President Kennedy appointed Marovitz to the federal bench in 1963. Marovitz received the Chicago History Museum’s “Making History Award” for distinction in public service.

Raymond Joseph Meyer, 1988 Laureate

Raymond Joseph Meyer, 1988 Laureate * – Sports

Ray Meyer was one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, leading his teams to 20 national championship appearances while amassing 724 wins. Meyer was born in Chicago and played basketball at St. Patrick’s High School and Notre Dame University. He coached at Notre Dame before taking the head coach’s job at DePaul University in Chicago, a position he held from 1942 until 1984. Known as “The Coach,” Meyer was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.

Patrick L. O’Malley, 1988 Laureate

Patrick L. O’Malley, 1988 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Patrick L. O’Malley Sr. worked his way up from a deliveryman on as Coca-Cola truck to head Canteen Corporation, one of the country’s largest vending companies, and was a leading public figure in Chicago for more than 40 years. O’Malley, whom friends dubbed “Mr. Chicago,” served on the Chicago Park District, Regional Transportation Authority and Chicago’s Home Rule Commission and was credited with helping develop the Petrillo Music Shell, orchestrating the 1980 rehabilitation of Soldier Field, sand keeping the White Sox in Chicago in 1975.

1987 Laureates

Michael Butler, 1987 Laureate – The Performing Arts and Social Services

Chicago native Michael Butler was the founding Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and was largely responsible for the procedures and traditions that the organization follows today. Butler’s long and varied career also included service as a special adviser to then-Senator John F. Kennedy, Commissioner of the Port of Chicago, President of the Organization of Economic Development in Illinois, assistant to Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, and President of the Illinois Sports Council. Butler was Chancellor of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Butler was also a theatrical producer best known for bringing the rock musical Hair to Broadway in 1968.

Paul Harvey, 1987 Laureate * – Communications

The sound of Paul Harvey’s voice was perhaps the most recognizable in the world for he decades that he was on the air with his daily commentary programs. From 1952 through 2008 Harvey’s News and Comment and The Rest of the Story radio and television programs reached as many as 24 million people per week, who came to be fans of his crisp delivery and signature sign-off, “good day.” Harvey began his career in Oklahoma but moved to Chicago in 1944 and was based there for the rest of his broadcasting career.

Walter Massey, 1987 Laureate – Science

Walter Massey spent a lifetime promoting the study of science and technology as the head of the National Science Foundation, director of the Argonne National Laboratory, and an administrator at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois. Massey advocated for a strong system of national science education and the need to enhance the representation of women and minorities in science and technology. Massey was also the president and chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Walter Payton, 1987 Laureate

Walter Payton, 1987 Laureate * – Sports

Known as “Sweetness” during his 14 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Walter Payton is widely considered to be one of the best running backs in professional football history. Payton held many pro football records and was selected nine times for the Pro Bowl, and culminated his career by playing in the 1985 Super Bowl with the World Champion Bears. Payton was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

1986, 1985

1986 Laureates

James Beré, 1986 Laureate

James Beré, 1986 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

James Beré was the long-time chairman and CEO of the Chicago-based Borg-Warner Corporation and helped grow the company into a worldwide auto parts and protective services leader. Beré was chairman of a financial research and advisory committee that made fiscal recommendations to several Chicago mayors. He also served in various capacities with a number of Chicago area arts, education and charitable organizations.

William Harrison Fetridge, 1986 Laureate * – Business

Chicago native William Harrison Fetridge was one of the foremost leaders in the international scouting movement. Fetridge served as vice president of the Boy Scouts of America, president of the United States Support Fund for International Scouting, and chair of the Finance Planning Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. He received the Bronze Wolf, Silver Buffalo and Silver Antelope awards for exceptional services to world scouting, one of only six men to be so honored. Fetridge was also vice president of Popular Mechanics magazine.

Lawrence Rossi, 1986 Laureate

Lawrence Rossi, 1986 Laureate * – Medicine

Dr. Lawrence Rossi came to the central Illinois community of Hopedale in 1952 to fill in for the local doctor, and after more than 40 years practicing medicine there he had given the 700-resident community a hospital, nursing home, assisted living center, and community fitness center. Rossi had just opened a medical practice in Pekin when the call came to look after patients in Hopedale. After working there for six months, local officials asked what it would take to keep him, and Rossi replied “a hospital.” The community rallied around the popular doctor, and together with the town’s citizens Rossi created what has been a model for high-quality medicine in rural areas.

Maria Tallchief, 1986 Laureate

Maria Tallchief, 1986 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Maria Tallchief was considered America’s first major prima ballerina and the first Native American to achieve that designation. Tallchief started dance training at age three and at 17 moved to New York, where she and famed choreographer George Balanchine founded the New York City Ballet. Tallchief traveled the world to perform and appeared on American TV, and after retiring from dance she served as director of ballet for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and debuted the Chicago City Ballet in 1981. Tallchief was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, received a Kennerdy Center Honor for her lifetime achievements, and her home state of Oklahoma honored her with a “Maria Tallchief Day.”

1985 Laureates

Ardis Krainik, 1985 Laureate * – Business and The Performing Arts

Ardis Krainik was a mezzo-soprano opera singer who was the general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago for 15 years. Krainik worked for the opera and sang roles on-stage before being selected artistic administrator, and then director from 1982 to 1997. Krainik was able to put the Lyric Opera’s fiscal house in order after years of running in the red, and she made headlines in 1991 for firing Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti for his numerous cancellations. The Lyric’s Art Deco theater is named in Krainik’s honor.

Hiram Henry Lesar, 1985 Laureate * – Law

Thebes, Illinois native Hiram H. Lesar helped launch Southern Illinois University’s Law School in 1972, served as its dean and a professor, and stepped in to lead the Carbondale university twice. Lesar’s two brief stints as chancellor included smoothing out controversy and ill will after more than 100 budget-related faculty firings. The SIU Board of Trustees named Lesar a Distinguished Service Professor, the first faculty member to receive this honorary designation.

Ruth Page, 1985 Laureate

Ruth Page, 1985 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Ruth Page was a ballerina and choreographer whose Chicago-based 40-year career saw her dancing in or choreographing at the world’s top performance theaters. Page’s large-scale production of The Nutcracker in Chicago became an annual holiday favorite, and she worked with some of the 20th century’s greatest composers and dancers. Page’s life has been the subject of two award-winning documentaries, and the annual Ruth Page Center for the Arts continues to teach and showcase the finest in ballet.

Daniel James Terra, 1985 Laureate * – The Arts

Daniel J. Terra’s discovery of a new ink process during his undergraduate research in 1940 led to the founding of Lawter Chemicals in Chicago that same year, and his global business success in the printing ink and chemical industry allowed him to become a benefactor to several Chicago arts institutions. Terra was finance chairman of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential campaign and he was rewarded by being named the United States Ambassador at Large for Cultural Affairs. Terra founded the Terra Museum of American Art, which merged with the Art Institute of Chicago after his death.

1984, 1983

1984 Laureates

Leigh B. Block, 1984 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Leigh B. Block was one of the most important benefactors in the history of the Art Institute of Chicago. Block,the retired vice president of Inland Steel, and his wife owned one of the most significant private art collections in the United States and as a result of their generosity such pieces as Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Degas’ “Ballet at the Paris Opera,” Breughel the Elder’s “Still Life With Flowers,” and Braque’s “The Large Billiard Table” became part of the Art Institute’s world-renowned collections. Block was also board chairman of the Art Institute from 1970 to 1975.

Virginia L. Marmaduke, 1984 Laureate

Virginia L. Marmaduke, 1984 Laureate * – Communications

Virginia L. Marmaduke, Illinois’ grand duchess of journalism, was the first woman on the Chicago Sun’s editorial staff, the first woman in Chicago with a sports byline, and one of the city’s first female crime reporters. Among her many exploits, Marmaduke once attacked a gangster with a spike-heeled shoe, and when she landed a big-time crime beat in 1943 she liked to say she was covering “blood, buts and sex – not necessarily in that order.” In 1979 Marmaduke was named Press Veteran of the Year by the Chicago Press Veterans Association.

Arthur C. Neilsen, 1984 Laureate

Arthur C. Neilsen, 1984 Laureate * – Business and Communications

Long-time Winnetka resident Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. transformed the company his father founded in 1923 into an international leader in market research. The company started to measure radio stations’ audience size in 1936, but was transformed in 1948 when Nielsen urged his father to install a computer to better calculate trends and preferences. The Nielsen Ratings became the broadcasting industry’s official measurement of viewer preferences, and the company also tracked a number of other preferences through the years, making it the nation’s premier tracking organization.

John L. Strohm, 1984 Laureate * – Agriculture and Communications

John L. Straum was a founding editor of National Wildlife magazine and was an adviser on agricultural issues to three U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture. Strohm was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for articles he wrote about trips to the Soviet Union in 1946 and China in 1958. Strohm, a lifelong advocate for nature and conservation, was born in West Union, Illinois and moved to Woodstock in 1947, where he lived the remainder of his life.

1983 Laureates

Thomas R. Mulroy, 1983 Laureate * – Law

Thomas R. Mulroy, described by a Chicago newspaper as one of the city’s “superlawyers,” spent his lifetime supporting the community through his service with legal and charitable causes. Mulroy was chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission, which helped to greatly reduce the influence of organized crime in the city, and also chaired the 1966 Citizens Committee to Study Police and Community Relations. He also took active leadership roles in the Executives Club of Chicago, the local Bar Association, and the Evanston Hospital.

Ralph G. Newman, 1983 Laureate * – Education

Ralph G. Newman was an author, Civil War scholar, and owner of the world-renowned Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago. He was the founder of the Civil War Round Table discussion group in 1940 that spawned hundreds of other such groups nationwide. Newman was chairman of the 1968 Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission and chairman of the Illinois Pavilion at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair where the “speaking Lincoln” figure created by Disney made its debut.

Mike Royko, 1983 Laureate * – Communications

Mike Royko was a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. He wrote 7,500 daily columns over a 30-year career as well as Boss, the scathing biography of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. No one was immune to Royko’s jabs, and his readers came to love the working-class, plain-spoken way he told it like it was.

Bobby Short, 1983 Laureate

Bobby Short, 1983 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Bobby Short was cabaret singer and pianist best known for his performances at New York City’s ritzy Carlyle Hotel, where everyone from celebrities to world leaders came to hear him perform. With his smooth voice and ever-present tuxedo, Short became an institution of style and sophistication. Short was born in Danville, moved to Chicago to perform when he was 12, and in 1968 went to New York, where he spent the rest of his career. The Library of Congress designated Short a Living Legend in 2000.

1982, 1981

1982 Laureates

Donald L. Bitzer, 1982 Laureate – Science

Donald L. Bitzer was the co-inventor of the plasma display, the key to modern television viewing, and holds patents for that invention as well as a modem, binary-weighted solenoid, and satellite communication techniques. Bitzer was awarded an Emmy for his plasma screen invention. He received his graduate degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a faculty member in the school’s College of Engineering.

John R. Block, 1982 Laureate

John R. Block, 1982 Laureate – Government

Galesburg native John R. Block was U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Ronald Reagan and was involved in the 1985 Farm Bill Act. Block had previously served as the Illinois Director of Agriculture. Block later became an executive at Deere and Company, and throughout his government and corporate service maintained his large, working farm in the Knoxville area.

Marva N. Collins, 1982 Laureate * – Education

Marva Collins took $5,000 from her own teacher retirement in 1975 and started Westside Preparatory School in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. The school was intended to teach low income black children whom Collins felt were not being fairly educated in public schools, and her prep school became an educational and commercial success. She became well-known after the 1981 film The Marva Collins Story, which starred Cicely Tyson and Morgan Freeman.

Delyte W. Morris, 1982 Laureate * – Education

Delyte W. Morris was the President of Southern Illinois University from 1948 to 1970 and his leadership helped catapult SIU into the ranks of major American Universities. Many new buildings and academic programs on the Carbondale campus and the creation of the Edwardsville campus are hallmarks of Morris’ SIU career. Today, visitors to SIU can see a statue of Morris commemorating his leadership, and the campus library is named after him.

1981 Laureates

Thomas G. Ayers, 1981 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Thomas G. Ayers was the long-time president, CEO and chairman of Commonwealth Edison. He was also a dedicated civic leader and actively and generously supported such organizations as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Community Trust, and Chicago Urban League. Ayers was a major force in the development of the area just south of the Loop known as Dearborn Park, and was an advocate of fair housing and equal employment opportunity for all.

James W. Cronin 1981 Laureate

James W. Cronin, 1981 Laureate * – Science

James W. Cronin was the co-winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research regarding particle physics. A native of Chicago and University of Chicago professor, Cronin utilized the particle accelerator at Batavia’s Fermilab to conduct several of his experiments. Cronin continued to receive national and international acclaim and awards for his nuclear physics work.

Ronald W. Reagan, 1981 Laureate * – Government

Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, and during his 1981 – 1989 term he had a major role in the fall of Communism and survived an assassination attempt during which he was critically wounded. Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois and grew up in Dixon, announced Chicago Cubs baseball games on the radio, and had a successful Hollywood film career during which he was elected President of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan also served as Governor of California from 1967 to 1975.

Adlai E. Stevenson III, 1981 Laureate

Adlai E. Stevenson III, 1981 Laureate – Government

Adlai Ewing Stevenson III was the U.S. Senator from Illinois between 1970 and 1981, Illinois Treasurer from 1967 to 1970, and was a State Representative from 1964 – 1965. Stevenson ran unsuccessfully for Illinois Governor in both 1982 and 1986. He was the chairman of the international Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy housed at the family home, a national historic landmark, near Libertyville.

John T. Trutter, 1981 Laureate

John T. Trutter, 1981 Laureate * – Social Services

Springfield native John T. Trutter had a life-long career at Illinois Bell Telephone Company, retiring as senior vice president for community affairs and public relations. Trutter was a leader and director of more than 40 City of Chicago, State of Illinois and national organizations that supported everything from the arts to services to persons with disabilities. Trutter was also the Chancellor of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois for 16 years.

1980, 1979

1980 Laureates

Paul Findley, 1980 Laureate – Government

Paul Findley, a Jacksonville native, served as a Congressman from 1960 to 1982. Findley was a frequent critic of U.S. foreign policy regarding Israel and authored a book about the issue. His overtures to the Palestinian people that continued after he left office did much to promote peace in the Middle East. Findley generously supported his alma mater, Illinois College, his entire life.

John Hope Franklin, 1980 Laureate * – Education

John Hope Franklin was an American historian who is best known for his 1947 book From Slavery to Freedom and his lifelong efforts to weave the black experience into the fabric of American history. Franklin received numerous accolades for his life’s work including the NAACP Spingarn Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Franklin was a professor of history at the University of Chicago from 1964 – 1968 and chair of the department from 1967 – 1970.

Arthur Rubloff, 1980 Laureate

Arthur Rubloff, 1980 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Arthur Rubloff was a Chicago real estate developer who is credited with developing and naming North Michigan Avenue the “Magnificent Mile.” He founded the Arthur Rubloff & Co. in 1930 on borrowed money and through the years was involved with hundreds of real estate deals that shaped the city of Chicago. Rubloff’s projects included the early shopping center of Evergreen Plaza on the city’s south side, Carl Sandburg Village, and the Old Town and Near North Side develoments.

1979 Laureates

John B. Anderson, 1979 Laureate * – Government

Rockford native John B. Anderson was a Congressman from 1961 to 1981 and served as Chairman of the House Republican Conference between 1969 and 1979. Anderson ran an independent campaign for U.S. President in 1980 and received 6.6 percent of the popular vote. After the election Anderson founded FairVote, an organization that advocates electoral reforms.

Joan Walsh Anglund, 1979 Laureate – Education and The Arts

Joan Walsh Anglund was a poet and prolific children’s book author who sold nearly 50 million books worldwide. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois, Anglund became popular in the 1960s for her cherubic illustrations and her themes of love, innocence and the emotional development of children. A 2015 U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorated Anglund’s career.

William Alexander Hewitt, 1979 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

William Alexander Hewitt was the former chairman of Deere & Company and the last of the Deere family to run the company. During Hewitt’s tenure he turned the small domestic company into the world’s leading farm equipment manufacturer. He hired architects Eero Saarinen and Kevin Roche in 1964 to design the new Deere & Company headquarters in Moline, and the resulting structure has garnered numerous international design awards. Hewitt also served as U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica from 1982 – 1985.

Robert Stephen Ingersoll, 1979 Laureate * – Government

Robert S. Ingersoll served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1972 – 1973, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 1973 – 1974, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State from 1974 – 1976. Ingersoll, who was born in Galesburg, was CEO and Chairman of the Board of BorgWarner, and his international business experience was an important factor in his being selected for diplomatic roles with Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Leon Orris Jacobson, 1979 Laureate * – Science and Education

Dr. Leon O. Jacobson was a University of Chicago professor and researcher who made tremendous contributions to radiology and hematology. Jacobson began to study the clinical applications of certain toxic agents as cancer therapies as early as 1943, and the treatment resulting from his research ultimately proved effective for treating Hodgkin’s disease. He also performed key research on the effects of radiation-related injuries.

Albert Jenner, Jr., 1979 Laureate

Albert Jenner, Jr., 1979 Laureate * – Law

Albert E. Jenner was one of the founding members of the Chicago-based Jenner & Block law firm, and he served as assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, which probed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Chicago native who helped pay his way through the University of Illinois by professional boxing, Jenner was also special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Scandal and the impeachment process against President Richard Nixon. Jenner also served on a national commission to study the causes and prevention of violence following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy.

Clayton Kirkpatrick, 1979 Laureate * – Communications

Clayton Kirkpatrick was the editor of the Chicago Tribune from 1969 – 1979 who changed the newspaper from a partisan-leaning publication to an independent news-gathering force and journalistic standard-bearer. Kirkpatrick’s 1974 editorial calling on President Richard Nixon to resign in light of the Watergate Scandal was one of the first such exhortations by a newspaper and a graphic departure from the Tribune’s Republican past. Kirkpatrick’s leadership also reversed a circulation decline and made the newspaper more profitable.

Marjorie Lawrence, 1979 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Marjorie Lawrence was an Australian-born soprano who achieved international fame performing Richard Wagner’s operas. Eleanor Parker was nominated for a 1955 Academy Award for her portrayal of Lawrence in the film Interrupted Melody, which dealt with Lawrence’s 1941 polio affliction that ended her performing career. Lawrence later joined the School of Music faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


1978 Laureates

Robert Gehlmann Bone, 1978 Laureate * – Education

Robert Gehlmann Bone guided Illinois State University from a small teaching college to a bustling institution as the university’s president from 1956 to 1967. Enrollment was 3,200 students when Bone arrived and rose to 11,000 with new buildings and high-rise dormitories at the end of his presidency. Bone was well-known and loved for his ability to learn and remember thousands of students’ names, and in his bright red vest Bone was a fixture at ISU sporting events.

Irving Lee Dilliard, 1978 Laureate – Government and Education

Collinsville native Irving Dilliard was a widely respected writer, editor and expert on the Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court. Dilliard was a reporter and later an editorial writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where in 1954 he became one of the first editors in the nation to warn against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Dilliard also taught Journalism at Princeton University, became the first director of the Illinois Department on Aging, and was an Illinois delegate to the White House Conference on aging.

Ann Landers, 1978 Laureate * – Communications

Ann Landers, as millions of daily readers knew Eppie Lederer, was a nationally syndicated Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist who became a cultural icon. Lederer won a national contest to take over the column from the original writer, who also used the pen name of Ann Landers, and from 1955 to 2002 she was the one the nation turned to for advice on everything from romance to manners. Her twin sister penned the “Dear Abby” column and was Ann Landers’ chief competitor.

Brooks McCormick, 1978 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

Chicago native Brooks McCormick was the CEO of International Harvester in the 1970s and the great-grandnephew of Cyrus McCormick, whose development of the horse-drawn reaper was the start of the large agricultural machinery business. Brooks McCormick was also a noted philanthropist and equestrian, and the large parcel of land near Warrenville where he held charity horse events, St. James Farm, is now part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

Samuel H. Shapiro, 1978 Laureate * – Government

Samuel H. Shapiro was the 34th Governor of Illinois and the second Jewish governor of the state. Shapiro was the Kankakee County State’s Attorney and a State Representative where he took a special interest in mental health issues. Shapiro served as Lieutenant Governor from 1960 until he became Governor from 1968-1969 after the resignation of Otto Kerner. The state renamed the Kankakee Mental Health Center in his honor.

William G. Stratton, 1978 Laureate * – Government

William G. Stratton was the 32nd Governor of Illinois from 1952 – 1960. The Ingleside native served two terms as a Congressman, then was elected State Treasurer in 1944 and 1950. Stratton was known as “Billy the Kid” because at the time he was the youngest serving governor in America. Several state-operated facilities, including the main government office building in Springfield, are named in his honor.

Daniel Walker, 1978 Laureate * – Government

Dan Walker was the 36th Governor of Illinois and served from 1973 to 1977. Walker was best known for walking the entire state, totaling 1,197 miles, during his Gubernatorial campaign, and despite being a Democrat he cast himself as an outsider versus the Chicago Democratic “machine.” Walker was able to obtain the passage of the first law in Illinois requiring the disclosure of campaign contributions.

1977, 1976

1977 Laureates

Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, 1977 Laureate * – Social Services

Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was the great-grandson of Abraham Lincoln and the last direct descendant of the 16th President. Beckwith was born in Riverside, Illinois and, like his famous ancestor, was a practicing attorney for part of his life. Beckwith donated many original items from his family that are now held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Charlton Heston, 1977 Laureate – The Performing Arts

Evanston native Charlton Heston was one of the most well-known Hollywood stars of the 20th century, appearing in more than 100 films during a 60-year career. Heston won the 1959 Best Actor Academy Award for the title role in Ben-Hur, played Moses in The Ten Commandments, and appeared in numerous science fiction and action movies in the 1960s and 70s. Heston was also an early Civil Rights advocate and accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1963 March on Washington.

Celeste Holm, 1977 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Celeste Holm was a film and television star with a career spanning nearly 60 years. Holm won a 1947 Academy Award for her performance in Gentleman’s Agreement and was Oscar nominated for her roles in Come to the Stable and All About Eve. She originated the role of Ado Annie in the musical Oklahoma! Holm graduated from University School for Girls in Chicago and studied drama at the University of Chicago.

Otto Kerner, 1977 Laureate * – Government

Otto Kerner served as Illinois’ 33rd Governor from 1961 to 1968 and was praised for his economic development, education, mental health and equal access to jobs and housing initiatives. He chaired the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, which became known as the Kerner Commission, and advised President Johnson’s administration during a time of unrest generated by anti-war and civil rights protests. Earlier in his career Kerner served as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, then as a Cook County Circuit Judge.

Hyman George Rickover, 1977 Laureate * – Government and Science

Admiral Hyman Rickover was known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” for his unrelenting and successful efforts to develop and introduce nuclear propulsion into submarines and surface warships. Rickover and his family immigrated from Poland and settled in Chicago, where he was able to secure an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. That began 63-years of active duty, making Rickover the longest-serving member of the U.S. armed forces.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, 1977 Laureate * – Religion

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was ordained as a priest in Peoria and become known as one of the first televangelists for his preaching on television and radio. His Life is Worth Living show garnered Sheen two Emmy Awards for Most Outstanding Television Personality and he was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Sheen also served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York, and the cause for his canonization as a saint in the Catholic Church is moving forward.

1976 Laureates

The Rev. Preston Bradley, 1976 Laureate * – Religion

The Rev. Preston Bradley was the founder and pastor of the Peoples Church in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago who was a driving force for many years in racial issues, conservation, the arts and education. Bradley believed that ethics, religion and economics could not be separated and this ideology made him a forceful liberal voice and reformer. Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center is named for him.

Gaylord A. Freeman, Jr., 1976 Laureate – Business and Social Services

Gaylord A. Freeman Jr. was the long-time chairman and chief executive of First National Bank of Chicago and was an influential spokesman for business on national and international monetary affairs. Freeman retired from the bank in 1975 but was frequently was called on by Washington, D.C. for advice and assistance, and he headed a commission appointed by Congress that charted the future of the U.S. Postal Service.

Louis Goldblatt, 1976 Laureate * – Business

Louis Goldblatt began his retailing career at age 11, running errands for his older brothers in their first Chicago store, and later built a 47-store empire of Goldblatt’s department stores that rivaled many of the retail giants of the time. Goldblatt, whose family fled Poland when he was just two years old, was also a philanthropist who supported numerous charitable causes in the Chicago area.

Burl Ives, 1976 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Burl Ives’ songs, films and voice work continue to entertain fans around the world. A native of Jasper County, Illinois, Ives was a singer, banjo player and CBS Radio star who made the move to the big screen, winning a 1958 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Big Country. Ives’ voice is heard every holiday season as Sam the Snowman, the narrator of the beloved classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Edward Hirsh Levi, 1976 Laureate * – Government

Edward H. Levi was the president of the University of Chicago from 1968 to 1975 and served as U.S. Attorney General for President Gerald Ford. Levi is credited with restoring order to the administration following the turmoil of Watergate and is often cited as the “greatest lawyer of his time.” Levi mentored many who served under him in the Attorney General’s office, including Rudolph Giuliani, Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia and Rex Lee.

Louis Courtenay Sudler, 1976 Laureate * – Business and The Performing Arts

Louis C. Sudler was a Chicago businessman and philanthropist. He was also a musician, and from 1966 to 1972, was the chairman of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Orchestral Association. He hired a new general manager who in turn hired Georg Solti as the orchestra’s music director. Sudler guided the organization back to its place among the ranks of the world’s top instrumental performance groups. He also created performing arts awards at 15 colleges and universities and established the John Philip Sousa Foundation to reward members of school marching bands.

1975, 1974, 1973

1975 Laureates

Samuel Weiler Witwer, Sr., 1975 Laureate * – Government and Law

Samuel W. Witwer, Sr. was the president of the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention which drafted the current document that guides state government. Witwer, a Chicago area attorney, was chosen to lead the convention beca8use of his quiet grace and the doggedness with which he pursued reform. He became known as the “Father of the Illinois Constitution” after voters approved the landmark document he helped to shape.

1974 Laureates

William Russell Arrington, 1974 Laureate * – Government and Law

“Russ” Arrington has been recognized by many inside politics as one of the greatest Illinois lawmakers. A Gillespie native, Arrington was a lawyer and businessman who served as a Republican in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1945 to 1953 and the State Senate from 1954 to 1972, including President of the Senate, where his initiatives earned him the designation “Father of the modern General Assembly.”

Saul Bellow, 1974 Laureate – Communications

Saul Bellow is one of the most honored American authors of all time. The long-time Chicago resident won the Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize for Literature, National Medal for the Arts, and is the only author to have won the National Book Award for Fiction three times. Bellow’s writing mixed rich character development with a witty analysis of American culture to present a vivid picture of life in our nation during the 20th century.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1974 Laureate – The Performing Arts

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed its first concerts in 1891 and has since entertained millions of people around the world with musical performances spanning nearly every genre. Recordings by the symphony have earned 62 Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s home is the 1905 Orchestra Hall, designed by famed architect Daniel Burnham.

Benjamin (Benny) Goodman, 1974 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Benny Goodman, the jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the “King of Swing,” led one of the most popular musical groups in the United States during the 1930s and he continued to perform for nearly 50 years. A Chicago native, Goodman was a major force behind jazz being accepted as “respectable” music and his bands launched the careers of many musical artists, including African Americans, during a time when integrated musical groups were rare.

William John Kuhfuss, 1974 Laureate * – Agriculture

William J. Kuhfuss was the president of the Illinois-based American Farm Bureau from 1958 to 1970 and is credited with helping to open world markets for U.S. farm products. Kohfuss, a Tazewell County, Illinois farmer, also served as president of the Illinois Farm Bureau and led three world trade missions in the 1960s. Kohfuss was president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an umbrella organization representing state farm bureaus, from 1970 to 1976.

1973 Laureate

Richard B. Ogilvie, 1973 Laureate * – Government

Richard B. Ogilvie was the Governor of Illinois from 1968 to 1972 and during his term he modernized state government, successfully advocated for a state constitutional convention, increased social spending, and secured Illinois’ first state income tax. Ogilvie, a Republican, had previously been known as a mafia-fighting Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sheriff of Cook County and President of the Cook County Board.

Frank Everson Vandiver, 1973 Laureate * – Communications

Frank E. Vandiver wrote, co-wrote or edited 24 books, most of them dealing with the Civil War, and his biography of World War I General John J. Pershing was a runner-up for the National Book Award. Vandiver was President of Texas A & M University and the University of North Texas, and received numerous honors for his research and writing about American history.

1972, 1971, 1970, 1969

1972 Laureates

Jack Benny, 1972 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Jack Benny was one of the leading entertainers of the 20th century, delighting millions with his comedy performances on the vaudeville stage, radio, television and film. Benny was born in Chicago and grew up in Waukegan, and came to be known for his comic timing and his signature, exasperated “Well!” Benny has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the Television, National Radio, and Brosdcasting and Cable Halls of Fame.

David Dodds Henry, 1972 Laureate * – Education

David Dodds Henry served 16 years as president of the University of Illinois in the 1950s and 60s. During Henry’s tenure at the U of I student enrollment doubled, academic standing improved, and new facilities such as the Assembly Hall and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts were constructed. The newly formed Chicago Circle campus enhanced the University’s presence in Chicago as well. His Special Educational Opportunities Program improved access to the University for under-represented minority groups.

Percy Lavon Julian, 1972 Laureate * – Science

Percy Lavon Julian was an African American research chemist who received more than 130 patents for the chemical synthesis of human hormones, steroids and medicines. Julian’s research laid the foundation for the production of cortisone, corticosteroids and birth control pills. Julian and his family endured racist threats to become the first African Americans to live in Oak Park, Illinois and he founded Julian Laboratories to continue his research using several African American and women chemists.

Mark Van Doren, 1972 Laureate – Communications

Vermilion County, Illinois native Mark Van Doren was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, writer and critic who inspired a generation of influential writers and thinkers of the Beat Generation, including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Van Doren was a scholar and professor at Columbia University for nearly 40 years, and was the literary editor and film critic for The Nation in the 1920s and 30s.

1971 Laureate

Archibald MacLeish, 1971 Laureate * – Communications

A native of Glencoe, Illinois, Archibald MacLeish was a poet and writer who was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for his work, two for poetry and the other for drama, the play J.B., for which he also won a Tony Award. MacLeish was a World War I veteran, worked for the magazine Fortune, and served as the Librarian of Congress for five years, a post he accepted at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1970 Laureates

Paul McClelland Angle, 1970 Laureate * – Education and Communications

Paul M. Angle was a prolific and internationally renowned Lincoln scholar and chronicler of Illinois history. He wrote and edited numerous books about the 16th President, was State Historian director of the Illinois State Historical Library, and headed the Chicago Historical Society. Angle chaired an advisory committee in 1967 that recommended what Chicago city records should be preserved for posterity.

Ernest (Ernie) Banks, 1970 Laureate * – Sports

“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks is widely considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Banks played for the Negro leagues before playing for the Chicago Cubs from 1953 – 1971, during which time he was an 11-year all-star, Most Valuable Player for two years, and Golden Glove winner. Banks was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, and was the first player to have his uniform number retired.

William J. Campbell, 1970 Laureate * – Law

William J. Campbell was the longest tenured federal judge in the United States. The Chicago native was the U.S. Attorney who helped convict Al Capone of tax evasion in the late 1930s, then in 1940 was nominated to the federal bench by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Campbell served as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 1959 to 1970, and continued his court service as assistant director of the Federal Judicial Center until his death in 1988.

William C. Westmoreland, 1970 Laureate – Government

General William C. Westmoreland was the commander of U.S, forces during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968 and served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1972. He was also a combat officer in World War II and the Korean War and was Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

1969 Laureate

David Matthew Kennedy, 1969 Laureate * – Business and Government

David M. Kennedy served as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, and chair of the federal Commission on Budgetary Concepts, whose recommendations were adopted as standard government practice. Kennedy was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Continental Illinois Bank and chaired Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Committee for Economic and Cultural Growth in Chicago. He also held top leadership roles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the International Studies Center at Brigham Young Univers8ity is named in his honor.


Ivan LeLorraine Albright, 1968 Laureate * – The Arts

Ivan L. Albright was born in North Harvey, Illinois, attended The Art Institute of Chicago, and became a “magic realist” painter whose dark, mysterious works included some of the most meticulously executed paintings ever made, often requiring years to complete. In 1943 Albright was commissioned to create the title painting for the film The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the original work he created for the movie is in The Art Institute.

John B. (Jack) Brickhouse, 1968 Laureate * – Communications

Jack Brickhouse’s voice will forever be associated with professional baseball broadcasts, and he was most well-known for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981. Brickhouse also broadcast Chicago White Sox games until 1968. including their 1959 World Series appearance. Brickhouse received a broadcasting award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 and was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame.

Katherine Dunham, 1968 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Chicago native Katherine Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater during the 20th century and was called “dancer Katherine the Great” by the Washington Post. For 30 years she headed the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the only self-supported African American dance troupe at that time, and was a leader in the field of dance anthropology, or ethnochoreography.

Arthur Goldberg, 1968 Laureate – Government and Law

Chicago native Arthur Goldberg served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and Ambassador to the United Nations. Goldberg was a prominent labor attorney early in his career and helped to arrange the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations into the AFL-CIO. Goldberg served in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and helped organize European resistance to Nazi Germany.

William Edward McManus, 1968 Laureate * – Religion

William Edward McManus was the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1967 – 1976 and Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend from 1976 – 1985. The Chicago native was also superintendent of Chicago Catholic schools while Bishop of the city, and enrollment in those schools reached a peak of 366,000 students during his tenure, adding 30 elementary and 10 high schools.

Edward L. Ryerson, 1968 Laureate * – Communications and Social Services

Edward L. Ryerson was the Chairman of Inland Steel Corporation from 1940 to 1953 who won national recognition by his peers as the most effective national spokesman for his industry. Ryerson lived his life as an exercise in philanthropy and civic duty, and served on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust for 27 years, the last 14 as chairman.

Rabbi Jacob Joseph Weinstein, 1968 Laureate * – Religion

Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein was a long-time spokesman for Reform Judaism and a vocal and oft-cited critic of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Weinstein was the spiritual director of Illinois’ oldest Jewish congregation, served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and was chairman of the War Labor Board panels during World War II. He was appointed by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to advisory positions regarding equal employment and labor issues.

Roy Wilkins, 1968 Laureate – Business

Roy Wilkins was the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1955 to 1977. Wilkins was a lifelong civil rights leader, and rose to prominence in 1950 when he co-founded the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. He was involved in virtually every major civil rights campaign for several decades, including several in Illinois.


William Carl Ackermann, 1967 Laureate * – Science

William Carl Ackermann was a professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois who made a long-lasting impact on water resource quality and the study of acid rain in the United States. Ackermann chaired the White House’s Committee on Water Resources Research and strongly advocated the establishment of water resources institutes in all fifty states, a measure enacted by Congress in 1964.

Roger Adams, 1967 Laureate * – Science

Roger Adams was a University of Illinois chemist whose work helped to unlock the composition of naturally occurring substances such as complex vegetable oils and plant alkaloids, insights that continue to have far-reaching benefits for humankind. He also served the U.S. government as a scientist at the highest levels during both World Wars.

Paul Howard Douglas, 1967 Laureate * – Government

Paul Howard Douglas was a World War II war hero and the U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1949 through 1976. During his Senate service Douglas battled for equal rights for African Americans, less pork barrel spending, environmental protection, public housing, and authored the Consumer Credit Protection Act.

Hugh Downs, 1967 Laureate – Communications

Hugh Downs was a television news anchor, producer, game show host, author and music composer who got his professional start at WMAQ Radio in Chicago. Downs was co-host of the NBC-TV Today show from 1962 – 1971, the anchor of the ABC-TV news magazine 20/20 from 1978-1999, host of the game show Concentration fro 1958 – 1969, and the announcer/sidekick for Tonight Starring Jack Parr from 1957 – 1962.

Charles (Chick) Evans, Jr., 1967 Laureate * – Sports

Chick Evans, who grew up in Chicago, became the first amateur golfer to win both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur tournaments, a feat he accomplished in 1916. Evans also won the 1910 Western Open, was selected to the Walker Cup team in 1922, 1924 and 1928, and competed in a record 50 consecutive U.S. Amateur tournaments. He received the United States Golf Association’s Bob Jones Award in 1960 and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The Fine Arts Quartet – Leonard Sorkin*, Abram Loft*, George Sopkin* and Gerald Stanick, 1967 Laureates – The Performing Arts

The Fine Arts Quartet is a chamber music ensemble founded in Chicago in 1946 that recorded more than 200 works and performed together for more than 50 years, making it one of the world’s longest enduring string quartets. The quartet’s members through the years have nurtured many young musicians through university teaching residencies, and their list of performances includes many of the world’s most renowned musical venues.

R. Buckminster Fuller, 1967 Laureate

R. Buckminster Fuller, 1967 Laureate * – The Arts

Richard Buckminster Fuller held 28 U.S. patents and was most famous for his invention and the development of geodesic domes. Fuller published more than 30 books, contributed to ecological thought with his book “Spaceship Earth,” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. Fuller taught at the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for many years.

John Simpson Hastings, 1967 Laureate

John Simpson Hastings, 1967 Laureate * – Law

John S. Hastings was a United States federal judge who was nominated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. He served as Chief Judge from 1959 to 1968 and assumed senior status on the bench in 1969. Hastings was also generous in his support of charitable causes, including those that assisted crippled children.

Raymond Marcellus Hilliard, 1967 Laureate

Raymond Marcellus Hilliard, 1967 Laureate * – Social Services

Known by the unofficial title of “Mr. Welfare,” Raymond Marcellus Hilliard was a leader in establishing efficient public welfare administration and delivering services to people in need, especially southern Illinois and Cook County. Hilliard’s service in leading several public welfare agencies in Illinois during the 1950s and 60s was marked by his emphasis on attacking dependency at its source, and he introduced measures that streamlined the welfare process while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

Charles Brenton Huggins, 1967 Laureate

Charles Brenton Huggins, 1967 Laureate * – Science and Medicine

Charles Brenton Huggins was a physician and cancer researcher at the University of Chicago specializing in prostate cancer. He was awarded the 1966 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering that hormones could be used to control the spread of some cancers. This was the first discovery that showed cancer could be controlled by chemicals.

Mahalia Jackson, 1967 Laureate

Mahalia Jackson, 1967 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Known as the “Queen of Gospel,” Mahalia Jackson lived in Chicago and became one of the world’s most influential singers and a renowned civil rights activist. She recorded 30 albums during her career and had 12 million-selling “gold” records. Jackson became the first Gospel Music artist to win a Grammy Award.

Wayne Andrew Johnston, 1967 Laureate

Wayne Andrew Johnston, 1967 Laureate * – Business

Wayne A. Johnston was president of the Illinois Central Railroad from 1945 to 1966 and chairman of the board for the railroad in 1967. He also served as president of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in 1967.

Irving (Kup) Kupcinet, 1967 Laureate

Irving (Kup) Kupcinet, 1967 Laureate * – Communications

Irv Kupcinet was enjoyed by millions who for six decades read his “Kup’s Column” in the Chicago Sun-Times. Kupcinet was signed to play football for the Philadelphia Eagles but an injury cut his career short, so he began writing sports for the Chicago Daily Times in 1935 and his “Kup’s Column” was launched in 1943. Kupcinet also hosted his own Emmy Award-winning TV talk show syndicated to 70 television stations nationwide.

George Littlewood Luthy, 1967 Laureate

George Littlewood Luthy, 1967 Laureate * – Business and Social Services

George L. Luthy was the president of Peoria’s Commercial National Bank and of the Peoria Park District. The Botanical Garden named in his honor is still operated by the park district to recognize his years of service and support to public recreation in Peoria.

The Right Reverend James Winchester Montgomery, 1967 Laureate

The Right Reverend James Winchester Montgomery, 1967 Laureate * – Religion

James W. Montgomery was the ninth Bishop of Chicago in the Episcopal Church, serving from 1962 to 1987. He was also a trustee of Shimer College in Naperville.

Charles B. Shuman, 1967 Laureate

Charles B. Shuman, 1967 Laureate * – Agriculture

Charles B. Shuman of Sullivan was a longtime farmer and the outspoken president of the Illinois Farm Bureau Federation from 1954 to 1970. His criticisms of government crop production and pricing policies helped lead to a change in United States agricultural policy.

Martin Wagner, 1967 Laureate * – Labor

Martin Wagner was an nationally-renowned labor relations expert and arbitrator who was director of the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations from 1958 to 1968. He was a leader in the development of Illinois public policy on public sector collective bargaining, and served as chair of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board for five years.

Robert Elkington Wood, 1967 Laureate * – Business

Robert E. Wood served as Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army during World War I before starting a career as the head of two giant retail firms, Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck. Wood’s tenure at Sears from 1928 to 1954 saw the company shift from a primarily mail-order business to retail sales at large urban department stores. Wood also created Allstate Insurance as a subsidiary of Sears.


George Wells Beadle, 1966 Laureate * – Science and Education

George Wells Beadle was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958 for his co-discovery of the role of that genes have in enzyme reactions, a key breakthrough in the world of genetics. A short time later Beadle was elected Chancellor of the University of Chicago, and then President of the University.

Edwin Carlos (Bill) Berry, 1966 Laureate * – Business

Edwin Carlos “Bill” Berry moved up through the ranks of the National Urban League and made Chicago the Urban League’s largest affiliate by 1958. Calling Chicago America’s most segregated city, Berry was a key force in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and helped organize a 1964 rally in the city by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Edgar Hugh Storer Chandler, 1966 Laureate * – Religion

A Congregational minister, World War II U.S. Navy chaplain, and Church Federation of Greater Chicago leader, the Rev. Edgar H.S. Chandler worked hand-in-hand with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights giants of the 1960s. He also inspired many as a teacher at the Chicago Theological Seminary, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Everett McKinley Dirksen, 1966 Laureate * – Government

Pekin native Everett McKinley Dirksen is one of the most well-known political leaders from Illinois. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the U.S. Senate Minority leader from 1959 to 1969, and helped write and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dirksen emerged as one of the most prominent national figures of the Republican Party during the 1960s.

Marshall Field IV, 1966 Laureate * – Business

Marshall Field IV was a U.S. Navy World War II hero who returned home to Chicago after the war and helped shape the modern newspaper business. Field learned the newspaper trade as a reporter for the Chicago Sun, and took over ownership of the Chicago Sun-Times upon his father’s death in 1956, owned Parade magazine from 1956 to 1958, and purchased the Chicago Daily News in 1959.

Carol Fox, 1966 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Carol Fox became the first impresario of the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1954 and is credited with restoring Chicago’s operatic glory. Fox studied opera in Europe in 1950 and returned home to lead the dynamic rebirth of the resident company at the Chicago Civic Opera, playing an active role in the world-renowned performing venue for more than 30 years.

George Stanley Halas, Sr., 1966 Laureate * – Business and Sports

George Halas, nicknamed “Papa Bear,” was the founder of the Chicago Bears football team and was one of the co-founders of the National Football League in 1920. Halas was one of the first 17 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, and was also a Major League Baseball player.

Ben Walter Heineman, Sr., 1966 Laureate

Ben Walter Heineman, Sr., 1966 Laureate * – Business

Ben Heineman was a lawyer, corporate leader and key Civil Rights adviser to President Lyndon Johnson. Heineman was chief of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway for 30 years and turned a money-losing company into a very profitable and efficient railroad. In 1966, when racial strife was at its worst, Mayor Richard J. Daley appointed Heineman as chairman of the Chicago Civil Rights Summit Conference on Fair Housing.

John Harold Johnson, 1966 Laureate

John Harold Johnson, 1966 Laureate * – Business and Communications

John H. Johnson was the founder of Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago and in 1982 he became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400 list. Johnson founded Ebony in 1945 and Jet in 1951, magazines that were among the most influential African American media during the 20th century.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1966 Laureate

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1966 Laureate * – The Arts

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is widely regarded as one of the world’s pioneers of modernist architecture. Mies was born in Germany, fled the country after Nazism’s rise to power, and settled in Chicago, where for 31 years he designed many of the buildings that now define the city’s skyline. Mies’ towers and homes reflected his philosophies of “less is more” and “God is in the details.”

Karl Albert Meyer, 1966 Laureate

Karl Albert Meyer, 1966 Laureate * – Medicine

Dr. Karl Albert Meyer served 53 years at Cook County Hospital in Chicago as an administrator, surgeon and teacher and was widely regarded as one of the city’s best surgeons. He reportedly performed more than 100,000 surgeries, often ten per day, and he helped advance the hospital’s national reputation in many areas of medicine.

Franklin Faller Offner, 1966 Laureate

Franklin Faller Offner, 1966 Laureate * – Science

Born in Chicago, Franklin Offner was a prolific inventor of electronic medical and surgical devices, including the electrocardiograph, as well as infrared guided missiles and aircraft engine systems. He holds patents for electronics, control and hydraulics systems, and has won numerous awards and fellowships from medical and engineering organizations.

James Michael Roche, 1966 Laureate

James Michael Roche, 1966 Laureate * – Business

James M. Roche joined General Motors Corporation in 1927 in the Chicago sales and service branch and rose through the ranks to president of the corporation in 1965. Roche dedicated himself and the company to ensuring equal employment opportunities for all races and helped seat the first black member, a civil rights minister, on GM’s board.

Walter Vincent Schaefer, 1966 Laureate

Walter Vincent Schaefer, 1966 Laureate * – Government and Law

Walter Schaefer served on the Illinois Supreme Court from 1951 to 1976 and was widely regarded as one of the leading scholar-judges on the nation’s state courts. His Federalism and State Criminal Procedure, written for the Harvard Law Review, is still regarded as a top treatise on the American system of justice. Schaefer was a law professor at Northwestern University and returned there to teach after retiring from the bench.

Robert Martin Trueblood, 1966 Laureate

Robert Martin Trueblood, 1966 Laureate * – Business

Robert Trueblood was a highly regarded Chicago accountant who authored several books on the profession and was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s budget commission. Trueblood received numerous professional accolades during his working and teaching career, and his accounting principles books are still cited in CPA educational programs.

Benjamin Coppage Willis, 1966 Laureate * – Education

Benjamin C. Willis was Superintendent of Schools in Chicago in the 1950s an early 1960s and and was credited for cutting class size, streamlining new building construction, and getting higher teacher salaries. But he was also known for defying court-ordered desegregation and refusing to move black children into white schools, a stance that made him the target of Civil Rights era protesters.


John Stephen Boyle, 1965 Laureate * – Government and Law

Chicago native John Stephen Boyle served as the first Chief Judge of the newly unified Cook County Court system that had received voter approval in the “blue ballot amendment.” His lengthy and distinguished career also featured stints as a Chicago Alderman, prosecutor and Chief Justice of the Criminal Court.

Rudolph Ganz, 1965 Laureate * – The Performing Arts

Switzerland’s most famous pianist, Rudolph Ganz called Chicago home for most of the 20th century and became a pioneer recording pianist, eminent composer, conductor, and music teacher. His compositions, concert appearances, and his classes at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Music College brought delight to music lovers for decades.

His Eminence Albert, Cardinal Meyer, 1965 Laureate * – Religion

Cardinal Meyer came to Chicago in 1958 and emerged as a conspicuous leader of the Roman Catholic Church during a trying time of adjustment for the faith. He served as Archbishop of Chicago from 1958 until his death in 1965, and at the Vatican Council he earned respect for his staunch support of the “religious liberty of conscience” and his influence could be felt across all faiths, races and groups.

Richard Gibbs Browne, 1965 Laureate * – Education

Illinois native Richard Gibbs Browne held many statewide education leadership roles, including executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and his work in education research charted new paths in a time of stress, conflict and change in the state’s school system. Browne was also an author, civic leader, and worked tirelessly to foster inter-governmental cooperation.

James E. Day, 1965 Laureate * – Business

James E. Day, an Illinois native, was a nationally known leader in the investment field and served as president of the Midwest Stock Exchange. His energy and imagination helped adapt the methods and machines of modern electronics to numerous technical and communication problems, saving time and money for millions of people.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II, 1965 Laureate * – Government

Adlai Ewing Stevenson served as Illinois Governor, was a two-time Democratic Presidential nominee, and United Nations Ambassador. His lengthy public service career was distinguished by his intellect, urbane humor, and penetrating sense of purpose.

Joseph Leopold Block, 1965 Laureate * – Business and Law

Joseph Leopold Block was the head of Inland Steel Corporation, a business that employed more than 30,000 people in the Chicago area, and advised several U.S. Presidents on labor-management relations. The Chicago native was chosen by his peers to be the voice of the national steel industry, and Block championed numerous civic causes during his lifetime.

Ward Louis Quall, 1965 Laureate * – Communications

Ward Louis Quall was part of a new breed of professionals, radio and television broadcasters, that arose before World War II. During his tenure as head of WGN in Chicago the station won national recognition and awards as it set the decades-long standards that most broadcasters still follow today.

William Henry Mauldin, 1965 Laureate * – Communications

A Chicago Academy of Fine Arts alumnus, Bill Mauldin achieved worldwide fame for his newspaper cartoons of everyday American GIs experiencing World War II. Mauldin won Pulitzer Prizes in 1944 and 1958 for his work, and continued to live side-by-side with and portray U.S. soldiers during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

John Bardeen, 1965 Laureate * – Science

John Bardeen teamed with two other scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories to develop one of the great electronic advances, the transistor. He shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for his Theory of Superconductivity, and went on to teach physics and engineering at the University of Illinois.

Avery Brundage, 1965 Laureate * – Sports

Avery Brundage was an Olympic competitor who went on to direct the International Olympic Committee from 1952 through 1972, setting the highest standards for amateur athletics around the world. Brundage was educated in Illinois and lived in Chicago, and received honors across the globe for his work.

Nathan Mortimer Newmark, 1965 Laureate * – Science

Nathan Mortimer Newmark, a University of Illinois professor, achieved worldwide renown for his work involving structural design and earthquakes. Newmark also helped pioneer the U of I’s use of computers in the 1950s and received the U.S. Presidential Citation of Merit and numerous global honors during his career.

William Allan Patterson, 1965 Laureate * – Business

William Allan Patterson headed Chicago-based United Airlines from 1934 to 1966, continually helping to improve the aviation industry and airport operations across the country. Patterson was also credited for introducing the concept of the flight attendant, and was well-known as a civic leader and philanthropist for numerous Chicago-area causes.

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois was established in 1964 to identify and honor exceptional Illinoisans whose contributions have brought honor to the state and have advanced the betterment of humanity. Individuals so honored become Laureates of the Lincoln Academy and receive The Order of Lincoln, Illinois’ highest award for professional achievement and public service. Laureates are presented the Order of Lincoln at a convocation ceremony held in the spring of each year.

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.

The Lincoln Academy is an Illinois200 Partner, #IllinoisProud, and during the state’s Bicentennial year we recognize our Laureates whose distinguished achievements and contributions have significantly shaped the social, cultural, business, political, economic, artistic, technological and scientific fabric of Illinois and beyond.

You will see brief biographical sketches appearing at the rate of several per week this year that will highlight each of our 337 Laureates from the past 54 years. We hope you will be inspired by their lives and reinforce your sense of pride in our great state.