Beginning this month, Elmhurst College will launch a new lecture series called Fixing Illinois: A Great State’s Problems and Promise. The goal of the series is to start an ongoing discussion about the challenges that Illinois faces, and to empower citizens to help address those challenges and move the state forward.
The first speaker in the series is Bruce Rauner, a wealthy businessman who formally announced his campaign for governor of Illinois on Wednesday, June 5. Rauner’s talk, Making Illinois Work Again, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 17, in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center.
Rauner retired last fall as chairman of the private equity firm GTCR, citing a desire to become more involved in political and civic activities. He and his wife, Diana, are active supporters of education reform, including the movement to expand charter schools and support teacher training. He also is known as an ally of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Rauner has never run for public office, but says his outrage over Illinois’ fiscal, economic and public education crises led him to join the race for governor.
“We have to be bold, tough, and fundamentally change government because Springfield is broken,” he said during a web video announcing his candidacy.
In the coming months, speakers in the Fixing Illinois lecture series will present a variety of perspectives on the state’s problems and how to solve them. Elmhurst College has distinguished itself as a venue for such discussions, as host to such key decision makers as U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and many others. In 2010, Elmhurst College hosted a gubernatorial debate between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and State Senator Bill Brady. The College also holds an annual Governmental Forum; earlier this year the Forum brought together four of the region’s foremost corporate leaders, including the CEO of Caterpillar and the president of the Business Roundtable, to discuss jobs, education and the economy.