SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that six world-famous Illinoisans who have excelled in communications, medicine, business, the arts and social service will become Laureates of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. This is the highest honor the state can bestow for outstanding achievement to people who were born or have lived in Illinois.
“These six people make all of Illinois proud. They are Pulitzer Prize winners, medical pioneers, community activists, financial experts and world-renowned artists. They now join the ranks of other famous Illinoisans, including Ronald Reagan, Walter Payton and Roger Ebert,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I congratulate the new Laureates and thank them for everything they’ve done for Illinois.”
The Lincoln Academy, unique among the 50 states, was established in 1965 to honor Illinois’ most distinguished citizens, either by birth or residence, who have brought honor to the state by their achievements. Other past honorees include John Chancellor, Paul Harvey, Mike Royko, Ann Landers, Lester Crown and Gwendolyn Brooks. The 2006 Laureates include:
· Garry Wills - Evanston, Illinois, resident Garry Wills is one of our most distinguished historians and critics. He is the author of numerous books, including Saint Augustine, Papal Sin, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln at Gettysburg. Wills has won many other awards, among them two National Book Critics Circle Awards and the 1998 National Medal for the Humanities. His newest book, Bush’s Fringe Government, looks at the state of American democracy and the influence of the Catholic Church. Wills is currently Professor of History Emeritus at Northwestern University.
· Richard H. Moy, M.D. – The efforts of Naperville, Illinois, native Richard H. Moy led to the founding of the Southern Illinois University Medical School in Springfield and in the process changed the way medical students become physicians throughout the United States. A young medical student in the 1950s, Moy noted that his teachers were preoccupied with research that attracted millions in funding, but took little time with curriculum. He began to challenge conventional wisdom, and in 1969 the Chancellor of Southern Illinois University took note and offered Moy the chance to create a new medical school that focused on education, “to reintroduce the drama of medicine.” The result was a daring, but now widely copied, community-based medical school, which Moy headed as Dean from 1970 through 1993.
· Rev. Thomas J. Behrens - The founder of The Night Ministry of Chicago, Rev. Thomas J. Behrens has spent a lifetime serving at-risk youth and the homeless. Behrens established The Night Ministry in 1976 and for a time was its sole staff member, walking the Lake View community at night as a street outreach minister to the lonely, isolated, poor, homeless, abused, and neglected. He listened to the people he met on those nighttime streets, and developed The Night Ministry into what it is today. Behrens now leads more than 60 staff members and 400 volunteers who operate the organization’s Outreach and Health Ministry, Homeless & At-Risk Youth Services, and Youth Shelter Network.
· William A. Osborn - William A. Osborn is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and a Director of Northern Trust Corporation and its principal subsidiary, The Northern Trust Company, of Chicago. He joined Northern Trust in 1970 and worked his way up through the ranks, becoming President and Chief Operating Officer in 1993 and CEO, President and Chairman in 1995. Osborn been active for many years on numerous boards dealing with the arts, education and social services, including the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Urban League, Chicago Horticultural Society, Lyric Opera of Chicago, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, United Way, and the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
· The Zhou Brothers – The Zhou Brothers, Shan Zuo and DaHuang Zhou, are world-renowned artists whose Zhou Brothers Art Foundation in Chicago supports international artists. Born in China, the Zhou Brothers always work together and have received awards and had paintings, sculpture and performances featured in their native land, Europe, and throughout the United States. In 2004 they opened Chicago’s ZhouB Art Center, which is dedicated to furthering awareness of younger artists and experimental work. The Zhou Brothers were honored in 2004 with the Chicago Immigrant Achievement Award, and have resided in Chicago for more than 20 years.
The Order of Lincoln Medallion will be presented by Lincoln Academy officials at a special ceremony Saturday, May 6 at 6 p.m. at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Lincoln Academy Chancellor John B. Simon of Chicago will preside over the ceremony. The traditional reception, banquet and ball will follow the ceremony.