“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
-Abraham Lincoln


New Chapters in the
Lincoln Academy Family “book”

While much has already been written of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, if there was a “book” of the Lincoln Academy, it is far from complete. That’s why we’re introducing a new social media/website series featuring the accomplishments and stories of our own ‘family’ of Academy members – stories of inspiration and accomplishment from, and of, its Officers, Regents, Trustees, Rectors, Regents for Life, and Emeriti.

This fresh material provided by the very persons who make up the Lincoln Academy is assured great reading for all, and something we like to think the great President Lincoln would have enjoyed this new material as well.

We begin our series with stories of inspiration from the officers of the Academy, followed by the Regents then Trustees in alphabetical order.

The Lincoln Academy of Illinois: promoting leadership that inspires and transforms by honoring great leaders of yesterday and today and empowering great leaders of tomorrow.

Zan Ransburg, Regent

Click here to read the interview →
Interview Courtesy of Peoria Magazines, 1996

Eric R. Trimble, Regent


I am a funeral director who has provided death-care for our community for many years.

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral was a touchstone which set the standard for funeral rituals ever since. This standard was evident with John F. Kennedy’s funeral and the many “State Funerals” which have been held to honor our national leaders. This standard has also been the benchmark for most of the families we have served as they plan their loved one’s funeral.

As changing preferences evolve in many of our social rituals, I like to remember the words of William E. Gladstone, British Prime Minister in the 19th Century:

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.”

Stephanie Pace-Marshall, Regent


Shakespeare: Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes, Hamlet- Act 1; Scene 3

“This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man…”.


The Honorable Ronald Dean Spears, Vice Chancellor


One of the motto’s that has inspired me is The Optimist Creed. It was written by Christian Larsen in 1912 and adopted by the Optimist Club in 1922. Optimist International’s mission is that by providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in our youth, our communities and ourselves. The Optimist Creed is as follows:


  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism some true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
  • To be just enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

We conclude every Optimist Club meeting by reciting this Creed. Studies have shown that how we learn to see, interpret, and respond to life’s events is important. Positive thinking, enthusiasm, persistence, and attitude are important not only to well being but to success in life.

Dia Weil

Dia Weil, Regent


“This beautiful story illuminates what is dear to me in life. Within one unassuming man’s story is a tale of devotion, hard work, responsibility, ethics and humility.”

Click here to read the article →