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October 12, 2001

Ryan Appoints Blue Ribbon Panel to Search for Candidates to Run Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan announced today that he has appointed a six member committee to conduct a national search to identify candidates to run the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

"The search committee I am announcing today is comprised of some of the most highly regarded leaders in culture, arts and sciences," Gov. Ryan said. "They share in my enthusiasm and appreciation for the Lincoln library and for what Abraham Lincoln means to the people of Illinois and the nation. I'm certain the committee will search the ranks of cultural institutions, academia, business and government service and find the most qualified candidates."

The search committee will make recommendations regarding the scope and responsibilities of the key positions, outline the requisite qualifications and create the process by which candidates will be evaluated. The committee will conduct a nationwide search for qualified individuals and will report their list of final candidates to Governor Ryan.

Members of the search committee are Miles White, Chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories and a board member of The Field Museum of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago, who will chair the panel; John W. McCarter, Jr., the president and chief executive officer of The Field Museum in Chicago, former chairman of Public Television's WTTW Channel 11 and former budget director under Illinois Gov. Richard B. Ogilvie; Charles T. Cullen, president and librarian of the prestigious Newberry Library in Chicago and a historian of John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson; Lonnie G. Bunch, president of the Chicago Historical Society, author, documentary filmmaker and formerly a curator with the Smithsonian Institution; Deborah Leff, director of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston and a former Nightline producer and Justice Department lawyer; and Henry Bienen, president of Northwestern University in Evanston.

"It should be clear to anyone that this search committee is made up of the best, the brightest and the most distinguished leaders of our cultural institutions," said Gov. Ryan. "Some come from pure academic backgrounds related to their fields of expertise while others are business leaders and government executives. What they have in common is a passion for this project and all that it will add to Illinois culture and this nation's historical treasure."

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a $115 million project that is a partnership of the State of Illinois, the City of Springfield and the federal government. The complex will house the world's largest collection of Lincoln artifacts and documents, as well as state-of-the-art exhibits that bring Lincoln's legacy to life.

"I want to especially thank Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert for their passion and commitment to this project. Thanks to their leadership, the federal participation is making a strong commitment for providing our nation's greatest president with the long overdue tribute to his legacy," Gov. Ryan said.

The Library and Museum complex will be located in downtown Springfield, a few blocks from several important historic sites: Illinois' Old state Capitol, where Lincoln served in the General Assembly; his former law offices; the only home he ever owned; and the railroad depot where he made his famous farewell speech to his hometown.

A live camera shot connected to the Internet currently shows a broad view of the construction area in downtown Springfield. To watch the Lincoln Library's construction, visit the LincolnCam. Several views will zoom in on the library, the next-door site of the museum and nearby Union Station, an historic train depot that will be converted into a gateway building for the library and museum complex.


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