SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today used the backdrop of the ceremonial opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library to name the first four members of an 11-person advisory board charged with planning the future of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex.
To chair the panel, the governor named Richard J. Franke of Chicago, a recipient of the 1997 National Humanities Medal. Also named to the advisory board were nationally known author and historian Garry Wills; Charles T. Cullen, president and librarian of Chicago’s Newberry Library; and Lonnie G. Bunch, president of the Chicago Historical Society.
“I am extremely honored that these four have agreed to form the inaugural advisory committee for the new Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum,” Ryan said. “Their backgrounds, interests, ideas and energy will, I am sure, set a course for the library and museum that will quickly establish it as a world class research center for scholars and a must-see destination for families and anyone interested in history.”
The 11-member advisory committee was created last spring by the General Assembly in the new state law that assigned the governance of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Each of the members must be confirmed by the Senate and they will paid only for expenses.
The law states that each member shall have “recognized knowledge and ability in matters relating to history, research, cultural institutions, archives, libraries, business or education.” The terms of the inaugural members are set so that the future members serve staggered six-year terms.
- Richard J. Franke. A native of Springfield, Franke is the retired chairman and CEO of John Nuveen & Co., Inc. The creator of the annual Chicago Humanities Festival, Franke was awarded a National Humanities medal in 1997 by President Clinton for “bringing the pleasure of art and ideas to the people of the great city of Chicago.” Franke and his wife Barbara have donated more than $5 million to various projects at the University of Chicago, and the University renamed its Humanities Institute after the couple.
- Garry Wills. An adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University in Evanston, Wills received his Ph.D. in classics from Yale University and has written numerous books and articles, including Lincoln at Gettysburg, John Wayne’s America and a biography of St. Augustine. A member of the American Academy of Arts, he received a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Lincoln at Gettysburg.
- Charles T. Cullen. President and librarian of the Newberry Library since 1986, Cullen is a former senior research historian at Princeton University, the former editor of The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and a former staff member of the Institute of Early American History. The author of more than 30 books and articles, Cullen is a charter member of the Association for Documentary Editing and a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
- Lonnie G. Bunch. Appointed to be president of the Chicago Historical Society in 2001, Bunch is the first African-America to lead one of the city’s major non-ethnic museums. Bunch was the founding curator at the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, California; and between 1989 and 2000 served as curator and later associate director of curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.