Go figure: Order of Lincoln Edition, July 13, 2018

Go figure: Order of Lincoln Edition, July 13, 2018

Three former Illini and one of Champaign's finest will join Ronald Reagan, Jean Driscoll, Walter Payton and other acclaimed Illinoisans as winners of the state's top honor for professional achievement and public service.

Here's Editor Jeff D'Alessio's quick, by-the-numbers look at the six recipients of the 2019 Order of Lincoln awards, announced Thursday by Gov. Bruce Rauner and set to be honored next May at the UI-Springfield's new student union.


UI alums who've been honored as both Illinois Athletics Hall of Famers and Lincoln laureates. There were Dick Butkus, and George Halas, and Mannie Jackson, and now JERRY COLANGELO.

Among the 1962 UI grad's other claims to fame: becoming the youngest general manager in pro sports (at age 29, with the Phoenix Suns), being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and having his jersey No. 23 hanging from the rafters at State Farm Center.


Estimated net worth of SHEILA CRUMP JOHNSON, making her the 30th wealthiest self-made American woman, per Forbes magazine. Like ex-husband and fellow BET co-founder Robert Johnson, the hotel chain CEO and accomplished violinist is a proud UI alum (Class of 1970) who also serves on its foundation board.

From the did-you-know files: She's the first African-American woman to own a stake in three pro sports franchises: Washington's Capitals (NHL), Wizards (NBA) and Mystics (WNBA).


Years that will have passed since an Illinois governor (George Ryan) bestowed this honor upon a Pulitzer-winning journalist (James B. Stewart, of Wall Street Journal fame, who joined former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw in a rare two-journalist 2002 class).

Set to snap the slump next year: Champaign native and Urbana Uni High alum GEORGE WILL, who won the Pulitzer for Commentary in 1977, three years after joining The Washington Post.

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Honorees born outside Illinois. She is DR. OLUFUNMILAYO OLOPADE, who was raised and educated in Nigeria and served as a medical officer at the African nation's naval hospital before moving to Chicago.

The renowned oncologist and MacArthur genius grant recipient has been on the faculty at the University of Chicago since 1991 and has made it her life's mission to improve access to quality care/prevention and breast cancer outcomes in underserved African women.


Opinions authored by the HON. BENJAMIN MILLER during his 16 years on the Illinois Supreme Court, including a term as chief justice (1991-94).

A Southern Illinois grad who practiced law in his hometown of Springfield before being elected Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit, then to a spot on the 4th District Appellate Court bench, he was praised by Rauner for his leadership role in "organizations focused on historic preservation and the study of Abraham Lincoln."


Straight years that Rauner's laureate classes have included a trio of UI alums. ED CURTIS didn't do his undergraduate studies here but picked up an MBA from the UI in 1990 while working as an administrator at Springfield's Memorial Medical Center.

His ascent from nurse to boss was completed in 2008, when he was named president and CEO of the entire Memorial Health System.