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CarlKnorowski CEO Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundatipresents Lincoln Leadership Prize Lech Walesformer president Poland. | Waldemar Reichert PHOTOS

Carla Knorowski, CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, presents the Lincoln Leadership Prize to Lech Walesa, former president of Poland. | Waldemar Reichert PHOTOS

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Updated: March 22, 2012 8:10AM

The folks of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation bestowed their most prestigious honor, the Lincoln Leadership Prize, to former Polish President Lech Walesa earlier this month in front of more than 350 guests at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The soiree was co-chaired by some of Chicago’s most prominent business leaders including Gregory C. Case, CEO of Aon Corp.; Frank M. Clark, president and CEO of ComEd; Ellen Costello, CEO of BMO Financial Group; Carrie J. Hightman, executive VP of NiSource Inc.; Paul V. La Schiazza, president of AT&T Illinois; Raymond F. McCaskey, retired CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois; Gregory Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens Co., and Chaz Ebert, executive officer of the Ebert Co. — who was not able to attend the event but helped with planning duties.

Lincoln Library Foundation CEO Carla Knorowski presented the award to Walesa, a 1983 Nobel laureate and the first democratically elected Polish president after World War II, during dinner in the hotel’s ballroom. The prize recognizes outstanding leadership “with a conscience” in the tradition of Abraham Lincoln, and is given annually to someone who has dedicated his or her life to service, exemplifies strength of character and holds an unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy.

Walesa is featured in an exhibit (running through March 5) honoring his storied life and career at the library in Springfield.

In total, the event raised more than $500,000 for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

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