CHICAGO, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (ALPLF) will award its prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D., astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History and the first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship at the Hayden Planetarium. Tyson – the first scientist to receive the coveted prize – works tirelessly to advance America's science legacy, which Lincoln helped to further when he established the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1863.
The Lincoln Leadership Prize – to be awarded March 9, 2017, at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.) – is an annual award that recognizes outstanding individuals for a lifetime of service in the spirit of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The award honors individuals who manifest great strength of character, individual conscience and unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy.
While science, engineering and innovation are not immediately associated with Abraham Lincoln, he understood the important role those would play in America's development. Through his work on the Morrill Act of 1862, which established land grant universities dedicated to engineering and science in each state, and his establishment of the NAS in 1863, Abraham Lincoln ensured we would educate future generations placing our nation on a path to scientific enlightenment. To this day, he remains the only president to hold a patent.
"Through his vast body of work, Neil deGrasse Tyson has paid tribute and continues to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln who was a pioneer in the prioritization of science in order to move the nation forward," said Dr. Carla Knorowski, Chief Executive Officer, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. "Tyson has become one of science's greatest advocates. He is a masterful communicator, who is able to explain complex scientific theories and make them understandable to the average person. He is a brilliant astrophysicist who also happens to be a pop culture icon, who is able to inspire and engage generations of fellow scientists, students of science and armchair enthusiasts around the globe."
Tyson has served as Executive Science Editor, Host and Narrator for Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, which won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and two Critics Choice Awards. Tyson also served on two presidential commissions under George W. Bush – one studied the future of the U.S. aerospace industry and the other studied the future of NASA. In 2000, Asteroid 1994 KA was named 13123 Tyson in his honor.
The recipient of the prestigious NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, Tyson earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics (1991) from Columbia University, and a bachelor's degree in physics (1980) from Harvard University. He also is a graduate of the prestigious The Bronx High School of Science. He is the recipient of 19 honorary degrees, and in 2000 he was voted "Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive" by People Magazine.
"I think of myself not as a leader but as a scientist and as an educator. The fact that people follow what I do, or count me among the leaders in the land, is evidence of a growing curiosity permeating society for how and why science matters in our lives," said Tyson. "To be recognized for this effort, not only by the public but by the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, has affirmed that I must be doing something right."
This year the Foundation also will honor Newt and Jo Minow with the inaugural Lincoln: With Charity for All Award, for their ongoing support of the community and the Foundation since its inception in 2000 and of the Library since it opened in 2006. Newt Minow was recognized by President Obama Nov. 22, 2016, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is an advocate for residents of public housing, advised Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson and served as the chair of the Federal Communications Commission under President Kennedy. Jo Minow tirelessly advocates for the study and preservation of history serving as a Life Director of the Foundation and as a member of the board of directors of the Chicago History Museum.
Since 2006, the ALPLF has awarded the Lincoln Leadership Prize to nine prestigious individuals who serve in the Lincoln tradition. Previous honorees include Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Civil Rights Activists The Little Rock Nine, Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, former Polish President Lech Walesa, Journalist Tim Russert, Astronaut James Lovell, Jr., Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Tyson will become the tenth recipient when he accepts the award Thursday, March 9, 2017.
The annual event serves as the primary fundraiser for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation for the benefit of the Museum and Library, which is not a part of the National Archives Records Administration's federal system of presidential libraries. For more information about the Lincoln Leadership Prize please visit www.alplm.org. For tickets and/or table sponsorship information please call 312/553-2000.
About the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation supports the collections and the educational and cultural programming of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; fosters Lincoln scholarship through the acquisition and publication of documentary materials relating to Lincoln and his era; and promotes a greater appreciation of history through exhibits, conferences, publications, online services, and other activities designed to promote historical literacy.
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SOURCE Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (ALPLF)