The Lincoln Academy of Illinois
|Formation||December 2, 1964|
|Founder||Michael Butler and Otto Kerner, Jr.|
|Purpose||Recognize contributions made by living Illinoisans|
|President||Governor Pat Quinn|
|Chancellor||Thomas S. Johnson|
|Executive Director||Julie A. Kellner|
The Lincoln Academy of Illinois is a not-for-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to recognizing contributions made by living Illinoisans. The Academy administers the Order of Lincoln, the highest award given by the U.S. State of Illinois. Each year several people (known as Lincoln Laureates) are presented the award at a ceremony presided over by the Academy President, the Governor of Illinois. The organization also gives an annual Student Laureate award to one student from each four-year degree-granting institution of higher learning in Illinois, as well as one student from the state's community colleges. Several prominent individuals have received the award.
After visiting the Illinois exhibit at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, theater producer Michael Butler was inspired to start an organization to honor distinguished Illinoisans. Butler, who was then head of the state's Organization for Economic Development, submitted a proposal to this effect to Governor Otto Kerner, Jr.. The Governor accepted the proposal and named Butler the first Chancellor of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois on December 2, 1964. The first convocation to honor Lincoln Laureates was held on February 12, 1965, at the Chicago Historical Society. Since that time, over 300 Illinoisans have received the award.
The Academy began awarding Student Laureate awards to outstanding college students in 1975.
The Academy is overseen by the President, who is always the incumbent Governor of Illinois. All other officers are elected for four-year terms by a panel of 18 Regents, who act as the Board of Directors. The chief executive officer is known as the Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor performs the duties of the Chancellor in his/her absence. Major administrative duties are carried out by the Executive Director. Finances are handled by a Treasurer, and meeting minutes are certified by a Secretary.
The organization also has three types of trustees: General Trustees, Academic Trustees, and Rectors. There are 60 General Trustees, each of whom is appointed for six-year terms by the President of the Academy or current Trustees. The Academic Trustees are the chief executive officers of all degree-granting institutions of higher learning in the State of Illinois, plus the presidents of multi-campus four year institutions and a representative of the Illinois Community College Board. There are ten Rectors, who represent each of the categories of endeavor from which the Academy selects its award recipients.
Order of Lincoln Award
The Lincoln Academy elects several Laureates each year to the Order of Lincoln, the highest award given by the State of Illinois. The award is presented at a formal public ceremony presided over by the President of the Academy (who is also the Governor of Illinois). The ceremony rotates every three years between Springfield, Chicago, and other areas of the state. Honorees are presented with the Badge of the Academy and a citation listing the reasons for their selection as Laureates.
Nominees for the award must be Illinoisans either by birth or residence. They are chosen for their contributions to society in one of these areas: agriculture; the arts and performing arts; business; industry and communications; education; government and law; labor; medicine and science; religion; social services; and sports. Laureates are then selected at a meeting of the Regents and Trustees.
- Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, awarded 1997
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States Secretary of State, awarded 2014
- Jean Driscoll, wheelchair racer, awarded 2012
- Paul Harvey, radio broadcaster, awarded 1987
- Robert G. Ingersoll, Illinois Attorney General and orator, awarded 1979
- Shahid Khan, philanthropist, UIUC College of Engineering alumnus, awarded 2011
- Jim Lovell, astronaut, awarded 2012
- Mary Ann McMorrow, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice, awarded 2007
- Walter Payton, football player, awarded 1987
- Ronald Reagan, United States President, awarded 1981
- Paul Simon, United States Senator, awarded 1998
- Scott Turow, author, awarded 2000
- Studs Terkel, author, awarded 2004
Student Laureate Award
The Lincoln Academy also selects one graduating senior from each four-year college or university in the state, as well as one student from a community college, to receive a Student Laureate award. Each chosen student receives the Lincoln Medal, a certificate of merit, and a monetary grant. Student Laureates are chosen by the chief executive officers of their respective institutions, who also serve as Academic Trustees of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities. The ceremony is held in the Old State Capitol, and is followed by a luncheon with the Governor at the Executive Mansion.
- "A Brief History". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- "The Honor Roll of Laureates". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- "Organization". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- "Gwendolyn Brooks". Answers.com. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Dickinson, Meg (11 February 2012). "Driscoll named Lincoln Laureate". The News-Gazette. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- "Shahid Khan". Jacksonville Jaguars, LLC. Retrieved 25 February 2014.