Cement your place in history by honoring the individual who would become the State of Illinois’ first ever successful entrepreneur/ businessman. French explorer Henri de Tonti is believed to have been one of the first to discover Peoria in the 1680s – the oldest European settlement in Illinois.
The Peoria Historical Society and Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University are co-hosting the first annual Henri de Tonti Celebration Dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom. The event is open to the public.
The Henri de Tonti Award – to be given annually -- serves as an effort to bring increased name recognition for the Peoria founder who played a pivotal role in the history of North American exploration. Currently the only public recognition for Henri de Tonti is a small street in the southwest part of the city that bears his name.
The 2012 inaugural award recipient is Caterpillar Inc. based on the company's consistent efforts at providing outstanding principled leadership to both not- for-profit and governmental organizations throughout the Tri-County area for over a century; since the company's predecessor came to East Peoria.
"We are honored and proud to be chosen as the very first winner of this award. Peoria has been our home for a long time, and we are very proud of our shared histories and look forward to prospering together in the future,” said Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman.
“With our new Visitors Center opening soon and the news of our new headquarters building project in the downtown area, we are committed to continuing our leadership legacy here.”
The award recognizes not only the company’s commitment to continuous principled leadership, but also the individual efforts of employees who have volunteered and been elected to leadership roles and improved the quality of life for all citizens.
Individual seats are $150 and tables of eight are $1,200. Sponsorships also are available. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the Historical Society mission to preserve Peoria’s history, Historical Society events, community projects and the two historic houses (Flanigan and Pettengill-Morron). Reserve seats by e-mail: deTonti@peoriahistoricalsociety.org, by calling the Peoria Historical Society at 674-1921 or mailing a check to the Peoria Historical Society, 611 SW Washington St. #A Peoria, IL 61602.