CHICAGO – By any measure, Gov. James R. Thompson was a big deal for Illinois.
Join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Chicago History Museum on June 12 for “Remembering Governor ‘Big Jim’ Thompson,” a look back at Thompson’s 14 years in office.
“Even in retirement, Gov. Thompson casts a long shadow. He was the state’s longest-serving governor, with a larger-than-life personality to match his six-foot-six-inch frame,” said Dr. Mark DePue, head of the Lincoln Presidential Library’s Oral History Program. “He was a skilled politician who seemed to relish every legislative battle and political challenge.”
The free event takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the Chicago History Museum’s Robert R. McCormick Theater. Registration is required.
DePue will moderate a panel conversation featuring four of Thompson’s top aides: Deputy Gov. Jim Fletcher, press secretary David Gilbert, budget director Bob Mandeville, and policy director Paula Wolff.
“Jim Thompson is a fascinating man and an important figure in Illinois history,” said Russell Lewis, executive vice president and chief historian at the Chicago History Museum. “This dream panel of key people from his administration will offer provocative stories about the challenges he faced and the colorful way he did it.”
“And we’re proud to honor a former Chicago History Museum board member,” Lewis added.
Visit chicagohistory.org/govthompson for program details.
Thompson, 81, plans to attend the event. A former U.S. attorney, Thompson was elected governor in 1976 and held office until 1991. He later served as chairman and CEO of the law firm Winston & Strawn from 1993 until 2006. He was also a member of the commission that investigated the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The Gov. Jim Thompson Oral History Project can be found at www.oralhistory.illinois.gov.