CNN anchor hosts a dinner with historical perspective
By SUSANNA NEGOVAN firstname.lastname@example.org May 30, 2012 7:34PM
CNN’s Ali Velshi
◆ 6 p.m. Wednesday
◆ Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 E. Delaware
◆ (312) 553-2000; pjhchi
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:19AM
History has a way of repeating itself, and the parallels between our city’s founding fathers and four illustrious Chicagoans — plus one iconic local corporation — will be highlighted next week at the Chicago History Museum’s 18th annual Making History dinner.
“We single people out whose stories inspire us, and who remind us that we have stories of our own,” says Gary Johnson, the museum’s president. “Sometimes they’re household names, and other times they are people you haven’t heard of. But once you hear their stories, you say, ‘This is someone who has really helped to shape our city.’ ”
Among the honorees:
† School of the Art Institute of Chicago President Walter E. Massey will receive the Enrico Fermi Award, presented by John Bryan.
† Vice Chair of Chicago Metropolis 2020 Adele S. Simmons will receive the Robert Maynard Hutchins Award, presented by Marshall Field V.
† Abbott Chairman and CEO Miles D. White (an investor in the Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports) will receive the Bertha Honore Palmer Award, co-presented by Lester Crown and Andy McKenna Sr.
† Walgreens will receive the Cyrus McCormick Corporate Award (accepted by CEO Gregory Wasson), presented by David Speer.
† A “surprise” guest will receive the Joseph Medill Award for distinction in journalism and communications.
The dinner will be hosted by CNN anchor and chief business correspondent Ali Velshi, a frequent visitor to Chicago who recently joined the museum’s board. On his trips through town, “I found myself going to the Chicago History Museum a lot,” he says. “It presents Chicago history the way I like to present business news to my audience.” Though he lives in New York and is originally from Toronto, “I got in touch with Gary and said, ‘I’d love to get involved because I think it’s a great thing and more people should see it.’ ”
Past honorees have included such Chicago legends as Studs Terkel, Ernie Banks, Ramsey Lewis and Helmut Jahn. Event co-chair David Hiller, who is president of the McCormick Foundation, helmed a committee that spent the last year identifying this crop of honorees.
“Chicago’s been fortunate to have this historical line of really terrific leaders,” says Hiller. “I think that the pantheon of prior recipients would welcome all these people in their midst.”
For Velshi, the night is an opportunity to learn more about his adopted city and the people who lead it. “Here, the awards are all named for somebody, so you get how the recipient is tied to the award,” he says. “You end up having this history lesson about Chicago, because it celebrates the people changing the city in the footsteps of people who changed it in the past. It’s this thread of continuity about Chicago being this place people came and changed for the better.”
The event will attract nearly 400 guests and raise about $800,000 to help fund educational programs.
The Chicago Sun-Times is the media sponsor of this event.