Skip to main content

Former Gov. Pat Quinn donates archives to Northwestern

Marks Veterans Day commemoration with gift of correspondence with Gold Star families

EVANSTON - Northwestern University Libraries welcomed Northwestern alumnus and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday (Nov. 10) as he announced a donation to the University Archives of his personal papers, including his correspondence with Gold Star families.

A graduate of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, the former governor has selected Northwestern Libraries to preserve the record of his public life. The donation includes documents related to the brave men and women of Illinois who were killed in action defending our country in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those heroes who have sacrificed so much and the Gold Star families who stand beside them were honored on Friday at an event at Mudd Library on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. They also were honored at the Northwestern men’s basketball game Friday night and will be honored Saturday to commemorate Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

“History needs to know about your sons and daughters,” Quinn told about 75 people assembled for the event, most of them Gold Star family members, explaining his reasons for donating the documents to Northwestern’s archives.

“They had an ethic of service. They understood that service to others is the rent we pay for our place on Earth,” he said. “When democracy was challenged, they did not sit on the sidelines. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

“We will always love you and we will never forget,” he said. 

VIDEO: Jim Fraiser, Department of the Army survivor outreach coordinator, talks about Quinn's dedication to the families of Illinois' fallen soldiers.

Gov. Quinn attended wakes and funerals for service members killed in action, corresponded with Gold Star families and honored heroes throughout his time as lieutenant governor and governor. This collection of documents provides unique insight into those who have borne the battle defending citizens in America’s wars.

When democracy was challenged, they did not sit on the sidelines. ... We will always love you and we will never forget.

Pat Quinn
former Gov. of Illinois

“As you know, honoring our military personnel is of the utmost importance to Governor Quinn; it’s also important to Northwestern University,” said Sarah M. Pritchard, Northwestern’s dean of Libraries. “We choose this occasion, on the eve of Veterans Day, to thank these families for their sacrifices.”

Working with Veterans at Northwestern

Northwestern is examining how to better support and serve its students, faculty, staff and alumni who are connected to the military. A formal Veterans Support Initiative was approved by Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin and former Provost Dan Linzer in fall 2016.

This work is being led by Jabbar Bennett, associate provost and chief diversity officer; Todd Adams, assistant vice president and dean of students; and Margaret McCarthy, associate dean in the School of Professional Studies.

A working group of administrators is currently exploring ways to increase activities and support for our military-connected constituencies. The group has collected input from students, faculty, and staff across Northwestern over the summer and fall, including by means of a survey, focus groups and interviews. The working group plans to provide recommendations to senior leadership in spring 2018.

Observing Veterans Day at Northwestern

One area of focus on veterans the University is now exploring is how to strengthen and increase coordination of Northwestern’s recognition and commemoration efforts. Out of this work, a new recognition event is taking place on Veterans Day.

For the first time, Northwestern will honor a military-connected alum at a wildcat football game. This Saturday, Stephen Peck (’68) will be recognized during the Northwestern v. Purdue game for his service in the Marine Corps from 1968-1971 as well as his substantial work for homeless veterans over the past 26 years.

VIDEO: Northwestern's Sarah Pritchard discusses the importance of personal documents as a historical record

Peck has been working for homeless veterans since 1991 and is currently the president/CEO of United States Veterans Initiative (U.S.VETS), a non-profit organization for homeless veterans, which provides transitional and permanent housing, clinical counseling and employment assistance. He joined the U.S.VETS in 1996. It is the largest veteran-specific non-profit housing and services organization in the country, providing housing for more than 3,000 veterans each night. Through his work with U.S.VETS, Peck advocates on the state and national level to bring attention to possible solutions for the homeless.

The “Veterans Recognition” plaque being given to honor Peck on Nov. 11 recognizes his service and reads: “With the enduring gratitude of the Northwestern community for the service of all our veterans past, present and future.”

Veterans at Northwestern

There are 219 veterans enrolled at Northwestern this fall in undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, such as law, business and medicine, and 37 of them are visiting students who are active duty service members, records show.

Among these veterans studying at the University are many with interesting stories, such as Dan Rice, a leader who trains leaders.

The Kellogg alumnus, current Medill graduate student and Iraq War veteran has combined his military and business experience to help found the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG), a company that already has taught the principles of military leadership to more than 30,000 people from 600 companies and institutions around the world, including Deloitte, GE, Mercedes-Benz, JP Morgan and the National Basketball Association.

Rice served as an airborne-ranger qualified infantry officer in the second Iraq War, where he was hit twice in combat by improvised explosive devices and awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Read a Q & A with Dan Rice here.

Dan Rice
Dan Rice

For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on the 11th of November, first designated as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954, as Veterans Day. In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn’s visit

In addition to the visit by former Gov. Quinn and Gold Star families Friday for the event involving the former governor’s gift to the Archives, the families will also be honored at two athletic events this weekend as part of Northwestern’s observance of Veterans Day.

The full timeline for the weekend is:

Friday, Nov. 10

1:30 p.m.        
News conference announcing gift, acknowledging Gold-Star Families
Mudd Library, 2233 Tech Drive, Evanston
Parking available on campus:
North Campus Parking Garage, 2311 N. Campus Drive, Evanston

7:30 p.m.        
Northwestern Men’s Basketball Game v. Loyola (Md.)
Allstate Arena, Rosemont
Pre-game hospitality

Saturday, Nov. 11

6 p.m.             
Northwestern Football v. Purdue, Ryan Field, Evanston

Back to top