Press Release

Bryan, Franke and Randel to Receive Founders Awards from the American Academy


CHICAGO – Three leaders of cultural, civic and higher education institutions are being recognized for their contributions to Chicago and the nation by the 225-year-old American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

On Saturday, November 19, as part of a program on Shapers of the New Chicago, the three leaders – John Bryan, Richard Franke and Don Michael Randel – are to receive special Founders Awards from the Academy.

Academy President Patricia Meyer Spacks noted that the founders of the American Academy in 1780 were “thinkers and doers – leaders in their professions who embraced a commitment to public service for the good of society and the nation. We are proud to honor three exemplary models of that tradition who have each, in his own way, made a distinctive and positive impact on this city and well beyond it.”

As Chairman of the Board of Directors of Millennium Park, Inc., John Bryan led the private effort to finance the new lakefront public park. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, a trustee of the University of Chicago and the past Chairman and a current member of The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. He is the retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Sara Lee Corporation. The Academy recognized Bryan for bringing “a commitment to all that is beautiful to the citizens of Chicago, enriching their enjoyment of long-established institutions and creating a vision that shines with the brilliance of Cloud Gate.”

Richard J. Franke has been the driving force behind the Chicago Humanities Festival, a citywide event he first proposed in 1989 and has led ever since. Under his guidance the festival has grown from a collaboration of five organizations – the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Mayor's Office of Special Events – to a four-day event involving 26 institutions and attracting 25,000 people to its 91 programs. He has served as chairman of the Illinois Humanities Council, member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and chairman of the National Trust for the Humanities. He is chairman emeritus and former CEO of investment banking firm John Nuveen & Co. The Academy praised Franke for “championing the values of liberal education and reaffirming the place of the humanities as central to our nation.”

Don Michael Randel has been President of the University of Chicago since 2000. Next year, he will become President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Prior to coming to Chicago, he was provost of Cornell University. Randel is a distinguished scholar of music and served as editor of scholarly music publications. He is a member of the boards of the Music and Dance Theater Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the Partnership for Public Service. The Academy saluted Randel for “creating a harmony of purpose and action among the schools, the neighborhood, the university, and the city.”

All three recipients are Fellows of the Academy.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on: science and global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs from around the world. (