Gala 2001: Outstanding Illinoisans
marked the 2nd Anniversary of the Outstanding Illinoisan Awards
presented to individuals from Illinois who displayed outstanding
life-long services in the following areas: Arts and Entertainment;
Business; Literature and Journalism; Military Service; Public
Service; Non-Profit Service; Science and Technology; and Sports.
Below are those honored in 2001 along with their achievement that
earned them this mark of distinction.
Illinoisans with former Illinois Governor the Hon. George H. Ryan.
Left to Right: Major General Rodney P. Kelly, Ernie Banks, The
Hon. Donald F. McHenry, Bruce DuMont, the Hon. George H. Ryan,
Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, Captain Eugene Cernan, Reverend
Daniel P. Coughlin, Georgie Anne Geyer and Steve Allen, Jr.
Allen -- Actor/Singer/Composer
Allen, the son of two vaudeville comedians and a graduate of Hyde
Park High School in Chicago, has been called "the most talented
man in America." After being released from military service
in 1943, Allen moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he started his
career in entertainment working for Radio station KOY. He burst
onto the national scene in the 1950's as the first host of "The
Tonight Show," which was followed by his prime-time comedy
program, "The Steve Allen Show."
His proudest TV
accomplishment, however, was his award-winning 1970's PBS series "Meeting of the Minds," in which he moderated a panel
of actors impersonating historic figures like Galileo and Charles
Darwin. In recognition of his many television accomplishments,
Allen was later inducted into the Television Academy's Hall of
Fame. His accomplishments went well beyond television however.
He also starred in several feature films, including the 1956 movie,
"The Benny Goodman Story," and acted in numerous Broadway
plays and soap operas throughout his nearly 60-year career. In
addition, Allen is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records
as the most prolific song writer and composer in history, with
more than 7,400 titles, including, "The Start of Something
Big," "Picnic," and "Impossible."
also wrote the score for several Broadway musicals, as well as
the stirring drama "Irish Wake," which won an L.A. drama
critics' nomination as the best play of 1977. Allen made over
50 albums/CDs, wrote newspaper columns, and stayed active right
up until his death in 2000. He is survived by his wife, actress
Jane Meadows, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Allen will be warmly remembered, especially by Illinoisans, and
we proudly honor him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the
2001 Illinois Presidential Inaugural Gala. Accepting the award
was his son, Steve Allen, Jr.
Hon. J. Dennis Hastert -- Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
native of Illinois, The Hon. J. Dennis Hastert was elected to
the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986. He represents Illinois'
l4th District, an area west of Chicago that boasts high-tech firms,
industrial complexes and expansive farm land. On January 6, 1999,
Rep. Hastert was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Prior to his election as Speaker, Hastert served as Chief Deputy
Whip, a leadership position he had held since the 104th Congress.
his tenure in the U.S. House, Hastert has worked to balance the
budget, improve the nation's health care system, and to ensure
that every child receives a quality education. In the years preceding
his election to Congress, Hastert served three terms in the Illinois
General Assembly, where he spearheaded legislation on child abuse
prevention, property tax reform, educational excellence and economic
development. He also spent sixteen years as a high school teacher
and wrestling coach. Speaker Hastert is a graduate of Wheaton
College and earned his master's degree from Northern Illinois
University at DeKalb. He is a past president of the Illinois State
Ernie "Mr.Cub" Banks -- Former Chicago Cubs, Baseball Hall
of Fame Member
to his fans as "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks is truly an American
legend. Mr. Banks delighted and inspired baseball fans for nearly
two decades. From 1955 to 1960, he hit more home runs than anyone
in the majors had before him and was the National League's Most
Valuable Player two consecutive years (1958-1959). After a memorable
career playing shortstop and first base for the Chicago Cubs,
Mr. Banks retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame
in 1977. He was the first Cub player in history to have his number
Banks is also active in a variety of activities off the field.
He is the founder and chairman of the board of the Ernie Banks
Live Above and Beyond Foundation. The foundation provides educational
scholarships and promotes social welfare through programs that
eliminate prejudice and discrimination among various age groups
and races. Mr. Banks is also the chief executive officer of Let's
Play Two!, an events marketing company.
Eugene A. Cernan, USN --
Apollo Astronaut and Last Man to Walk
on the Moon
Chicago and raised in the suburb of Bellwood, Captain Cernan began
his service to the United States as a Navy ROTC student. Upon
graduating from college, Captain Cernan began active duty in USN
where he soon earned his wings and became an attack pilot. In
1963, he was accepted into the astronaut program at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Captain Cernan participated
in three separate NASA flights. He was the second American to
walk in space in the 1966 Gemini 9 mission. During the 1969 Apollo
10 mission, Cernan descended within 10 miles of the lunar surface.
December 1972, he landed on the moon as the commander of Apollo
17. After the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became involved with the
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, a joint U.S. and Soviet Union venture.
In 1976, Cernan resigned from NASA and the Navy to join Coral
Petroleum, Inc. as executive vice-president. He left Coral Petroleum
to become president of the Cernan Corporation; a space-related
technology and marketing consulting firm. Today, he serves as
an executive consultant to SpaceHab, which has responsibilities
to the Space Shuttle, International Space Station and future space
Daniel P. Coughlin -- Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives
native of Chicago's northwest side, Fr. Daniel P. Coughlin, is
the first Catholic priest to be named chaplain of the U.S. House
of Representatives. Fr. Coughlin, who was ordained a priest on
May 3, I960, served as the Vicar for Priests for the Archdiocese
of Chicago from 1995 to 2000. The Vicar for Priests assists active
priests of the Archdiocese with their spiritual, professional
and personal needs. Prior to that position, Fr. Coughlin served
as director of the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House in Mundelein,
IL. Also, he has been pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, LaGrange,
IL; director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship; associate
pastor of Holy Name Cathedral; and associate pastor of St. Raymond
took a one-year sabbatical in 1984-1985 to study east-west religions,
serve with missionaries in India and teach at the North American
College in Vatican City. Fr. Coughlin attended St. Mary of the
Lake University, Mundelein, IL, where he received a degree in
Sacred Theology. He also holds a degree in pastoral studies from
Loyola University in Chicago.
Founder and President of the Museum of Broadcasting
host of Beyond the Beltway, Bruce DuMont is heard from coast to
coast every Sunday night on more than 60 of America's major radio
stations. The television version of the program which airs weekly
in the Chicago area offers a thoroughly balanced analysis of national
affairs. DuMont also anchors Illinois Lawmakers, a television
series exploring the Illinois General Assembly, now in its 18th
season on public television stations throughout Illinois.
In addition to
his work as a highly respected political analyst, DuMont is also
an active civic leader. He is Founder and President of The Museum
of Broadcast Communications, one of only two broadcast museums
in the United States. The Museum includes America's only Radio
Hall of Fame, which DuMont brought to Chicago in 1991. In 1999,
DuMont was recognized for his significant contributions to Chicago
television and was inducted into the coveted Silver Circle by
the Chicago Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts
1994, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from his alma mater,
Columbia College/Chicago. In 1989, he was recognized by the Chicago
Sun-Times as one of Chicago's most influential television leaders
of the 1980s. DuMont serves on the National Advisory Board for
Northwestern University's School of Speech and on the Executive
Committee of the Harris School Council on Public Policy at the
University of Chicago.
Anne Geyer -- Author, Journalist and Syndicated Columnist
more than 30 years, Georgie Anne Geyer has delivered distinctive
foreign commentary from an impressive variety of foreign fronts.
A native of the southwest side of Chicago, Geyer is a graduate
of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Upon graduation
she accepted a Fulbright Scholarship to study modern history in
Vienna. She then worked as a reporter for Chicago's Southtown
Economist, before joining the Chicago Daily News. She was a correspondent
in Latin America and foreign correspondent for the Chicago newspaper
before going on to the Los Angeles Times as a syndicated columnist
on international, domestic and women's affairs.
in Washington D.C., she is the author of books on Latin America,
Russia, and the Middle East; and a commentator on public television's "Washington Week in Review" and the "Voice of America."
Her interview fist includes Fidel Castro, Juan Peron, Ayatollah
Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Yassar Arafat, Ronald Reagan and George
H. W. Bush. Geyer was inducted into the Gridiron Club, the Chicago
Journalism Hall of Fame, and the Society of Professional Journalists
and will be inducted into the Society of Professional Journalists
Hall of Fame .in June, 2001. She is a recipient of the Northwestern
University Alumni Award and holds twenty-one honorary degrees
from various learning institutions across the county including
Northwestern University, Lake Forest College and Loyola University.Ý A television program based on her biography of Fidel Castro premiered
on Showtime in April 2001.
General Rodney P. Kelly --
Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for
Plans and Programs, USAF
native of southern Illinois, Major General Rodney P. Kelly is
the assistant deputy chief of staff for plans and programs for
the United States Air Force in Washington, DC. He is responsible
for planning and programming, and for manpower activities within
the corporate Air Force. In this capacity, Maj. Gen. Kelly develops,
integrates and analyzes long-range and strategic plans, the $450
billion Future Year Defense Program, manpower and organizational
requirements, and management innovation to support national security
objectives and military strategy.
general was commissioned lieutenant after completing the Reserve
Officer Training Corps program in 1967 at Southern Illinois University.
He is a command and combat pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours.
Before assuming his current position, he directed operations at
Headquarters U.S. Space Command. Maj. Gen. Kelly has received
several awards and decorations for his outstanding service to
the United States. These honors include: the Defense Superior
Service Medal; the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; Meritorious
Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Air Medal; and the
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
F. McHenry -- Former Ambassador to the United Nations
F. McHenry served as Ambassador and U.S. Permanent Representative
to the United Nations from September 1979 until January 20, 1981.
As chief United States representative to the United Nations, he
also served as a member of President Carter's Cabinet. At the
time of his appointment, Ambassador McHenry was Ambassador and
U.S. Deputy Representative to the U.N. Security Council, a position
to which he was appointed in March 1977.
McHenry is currently University Research Professor of Diplomacy
and International Affairs at Georgetown. University and President
of the IRC Group, an international consulting firm. He has studied,
taught and worked primarily in the fields of foreign policy and
international law. He joined the U.S. Department of State in 1963
and served eight years in various positions related to U.S. foreign
policy. In 1966, he received the State Department's Superior Honor
Award. Ambassador McHenry has taught at Southern Illinois, Howard,
American and Georgetown Universities. He is the author of Micronesia:
Trust Betrayed (Carnegie Endowment, 1975) and numerous articles
published in professional journals and newspapers. Ambassador
McHenry serves on the Board of Directors of the International
Paper Company, the Coca-Cola Company, BankBoston, SmithKline Beecham,
AT&T, and several non-profit organizations. He grew up in
East St. Louis, Illinois and is a graduate of Illinois State University.
He received a master's degree from Southern Illinois University
with majors in International Affairs and in Rhetoric and Public
General Wilma Vaught, USAF -- Women in US Military Memorial
native of Illinois, Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, USAF, Retired,
was the Air Force's first female general. She is also the first
Air Force woman graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed
Forces. During her distinctive military career, General Vaught
held various positions in the comptroller field at Barksdale AFB,
Louisiana; Zaragoza AFB, Spain; McCoy AFB, Orlando, Florida; Headquarters,
Military Assistance Command, Saigon, Vietnam; Air Force Logistics
Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Daytona, Ohio; the Air Staff, the
Pentagon, Washington, DC; and she was Deputy Chief of Staff, Comptroller,
Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, Maryland. From 1983 to
1985, General Vaught served as Chairperson of the NATO women in
the Allied Forces Committee and was the senior woman military
representative to the Defense Department.
last military assignment was as Commander, U.S. Military Entrance
Processing Command, North Chicago, Illinois, where she served
from June 1982, until her retirement in August, 1985. Her numerous
military decorations and awards include both the Defense and Air
Force Distinguished Service Medals, Air Force Legion of Merit,
Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation
Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint
Meritorious Unit Award, Vietnam Service Medal with four stars,
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm and Republic of
Vietnam Campaign Medal. General Vaught currently serves as President
of the Board of Directors of the Women in Military Service for
America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
of the 2001 Gala:
State Farm Insurance Companies
Bank One Corporation
Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway
American Plastic Council
Dominick's -- A Safeway Company
The Eli's Cheesecake Company
Goldberg, Kohn, Black, Rosenbloom and Moritz
Illinois Took Works, Inc.
International Truck and Engine Corporation
Peoples Energy Corporation
Sears, Roebuck and Company
Universities Research Association, Inc./Fermi Lab
Allstate Insurance Co.
Ariel Capital Management
INNdependent Management Group
Nalco Chemical Company
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Reed, Smith, Shaw and McClay