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Museum announces 2017 History Maker Honorees

Graphic showing the 2017 honorees: Craig Hart, Jeanne Morris, Charles Morris, Judy Stone and Jesse Smart

The McLean County Museum of History announced today five recipients of the 2017 History Makers award to be presented during the Museum’s sixth annual History Makers Gala on Thursday, June 15

Craig Hart Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Craig Hart head shot

Craig Hart was born on January 11, 1934 in Streator, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics and his master’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Jeanne and Charles Morris Named 2017 History Makers Honorees

Jeanne and Charles Morris

The story of how Jeanne and Charles Morris met “usually gets a smile,” according to Charles. Jeanne and Charles Morris grew up in entirely different states, but met in college while working at a camp on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Although they then went their separate ways—Jeanne back to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and Charles back to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina—the two kept in touch as they finished up their undergraduate degrees.

Judy Stone Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Judy Stone

Judy Stone was born in Columbus, Ohio on July 21, 1932. After growing up in Ohio, Judy received her bachelor’s degree in English and attended Northwestern University in Evanston for her master’s degree in History. It was in Evanston that Judy met her husband Jerry, who was working on his PhD.

Jesse Smart Named 2017 History Makers Honoree

Jesse Smart

Jesse Smart was born on April 29, 1939 on a small family farm in Pike County, IL.

After graduating as class valedictorian at East Pike High School, Jesse went on to study agricultural education at the University of Illinois. It was there, in Urbana-Champaign, that Jesse met his wife Susan.

Museum exceeds $3 million campaign goal

The McLean County Museum of History has surpassed its $3 million campaign goal to fund significant improvements including a new permanent exhibit and Museum-wide technology upgrades. Campaign Co-Chair and Board President Carolyn Yockey made the announcement Thursday, June 16, 2016 during the Museum’s annual meeting and History Makers Gala. The Extending Excellence campaign has secured $3.36 million in pledges. New exhibits and programs will continue to roll out through 2019.

Father Ric Schneider Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

Since Father Ric Schneider arrived in Bloomington to become the pastor of St. Mary’s Parish 23 years ago he has built St. Mary’s into an institution that contributes to the well-being of the entire community, serving the needy regardless of faith.

Jill Hutchison Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

A Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and an internationally respected authority on the game, Jill Hutchison’s first brush with organized athletics was her seventh grade basketball team. But soon after, the self-proclaimed “Army brat” transferred to Germany where she spent three years in a physical education class that featured marching as an appropriate activity for young women. Jill says that disappointing experience would be a motivation for the rest of her career.

Gordon Ropp Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

It is impossible to study the history of agriculture and rural life in McLean County without examining the career of Gordon Ropp. His dedication to the advancement of agriculture and enrichment of rural life has played an instrumental role in shaping McLean County.

Jack Porter Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

Jack Porter’s passion for social justice has defined his life and career over five decades. Inspired by his Christian faith and his experiences while studying in India, Jack has long immersed himself in local struggles to end unfair housing practices, to fight racism, to give legal representation to the poor, and to stop predatory actions that threaten people, neighborhoods, and the environment.

Merlin Kennedy, 2015 McLean County History Maker

Merlin Kennedy

The local story of the American Civil Rights Movement cannot be told without a chapter on Merlin Kennedy. His unique style of leadership and bold demonstrations against segregation made national headlines as the nation struggled to redefine race relations.

Peg and John Kirk, 2015 McLean County History Makers

John and Peg Kirk

The first scene of Peg and John Kirk's enduring love story would start in the fifth grade. John loved Peg. Peg was annoyed.

Sonja Reece, 2015 McLean County History Maker

Sonja Reece

A Missouri native, Sonja Reece chose to make Normal her home in 1973. This choice would have a significant impact not only on her family, but also the larger community that would come to know the unyielding positive energy that would be Sonja's trademark.

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