Which prestigious event could possibly unite three seemingly unrelated grand subjects such as the 16th President of the United States, a living cinema icon, and the world's leading construction manufacturer?
During an especially memorable evening evening in Chicago the annual 2014 Lincoln Leadership Prize event did exactly just that.
Established in 2006 by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Foundation (ALPLF), the Lincoln Leadership Prize is awarded to men and women for a lifetime of service in the Lincoln tradition. Past recipients of the grand award include former US President Bill Clinton, a former Polish President, and Captain James A. Lowell, Jr. among others. This year's recipient is arguably one of the world's most successful, influential, and recognized film directors of all time, Steven Spielberg.
The ALPLF is an organization which supports exhibits and programs of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum and also sponsors scholarships opportunities. The Caterpillar Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of US based manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., served as presenting sponsor of the 2014 Lincoln Leadership Prize ceremony. The organization began in 1952 and provides financial services to poverty stricken people in 24 countries, donating countless millions and has also worked closely with ALPLF for many years. This year's Lincoln Leadership Prize event helped raise 1.2 million dollars in proceeds and gathered a record audience of over seven-hundred people.
Other noteworthy and heartfelt surprises during the evening included messages and award wishes via video for Spielberg by various individuals, such as world famous film actor Tom Cruise, actress Whoopi Goldberg, and a Holocaust survivor. Those in attendance were also treated to a special video montage incorporating some of Spielberg's breathtaking visual work and free copies of a hard cover book exploring the history of Abraham Lincoln and Spielberg's 2012 film.
This does not go without mentioning some of the other notable speakers who participated, like Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Vice President of Caterpillar Inc. David Bozeman, and the entertaining well-known Master of Ceremonies Bull Kurtis.
There was also one more surprise, which you can only see in the video below!