The Lincoln Academy of Illinois held their 54th Annual Laureate Convocation at the Coronado Performing Arts Center this past Saturday. And this honor should have come with a red carpet for the number of stars that were in attendance that night.

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This is the first time this event has been held in Rockford since 1970. As Double T had said last week, The Lincoln Academy of Illinois is a non-profit organization that is based out of Springfield. Every year they recognize Illinois residents for their outstanding contributions to the state. The honorees receive the "Order of Lincoln", which is the highest award given in Illinois.

Out of the 8 Illinois natives honored this Saturday two were from Rockford. Bergstom Inc. Chairman David Rydell and 16-year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear. Bear was the youngest ever recipient of the "Order of Lincoln" and for most Rockford residents this was the first chance to hear her perform in her hometown. Where she treated the audience to a world-premiere of her ode to American spirit And Forever Free.

Some of the other recipients included YouTube's co-founder Steven Shih Chen and legendary Chicago Bear Dick Butkus.

And that brings us to our first celebrity sighting of the night. Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the chaplain of the Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team. She gained popularity this year during the NCAA basketball tournament. So much so, that she got her own bobblehead. She was in attendance to support honoree Reverand Michael Garanzini.

Now, this next sighting has me feeling like Jason Lee's character in Mallrats. You know when he can't believe Stan Lee is in HIS mall and he didn't know about itWhy may you ask? Because one of the most iconic filmmakers of all time and a man's whose life's work has been a huge influence on not just my life, but a large part of the population's life was in my hometown!

Such films as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and yes even Willow and Howard The Duck, none other than Mr. George Lucas himself!

Lucas was there to support his wife, Mellody Hobson, who was also one of the evenings honoree.

He can be seen here in this photo alongside yet another celebrity, Major General John Borling.

Major General John Borling and George Lucas, plus Bruce Rauner outside the Coronado PAC at The Lincoln Academy Awards May 5, 2018.
Major General John Borling and George Lucas, plus Bruce Rauner outside the Coronado PAC at The Lincoln Academy Awards May 5, 2018.

When I first saw this photo my jaw hit the floor! First, that's George Lucas standing in front of the crowned jewel of Rockford. Second, it's a great photo! I mean our governor is sort-of photobombing them.

The man Lucas is standing next to is another example of an Illinois native who's made an impressive impact on his home state and elsewhere.

John Borling is a retired Major General of the United States Air Force, with a military career that spanned 37 years. He is also a regent for The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. I have had the honor of speaking with him on a couple of occasions and he is a very funny and charming gentleman.

In a phone conversation Gen. Borling and I had on Monday afternoon, he told me he served as Sergeant of Arms for the event Saturday evening. Going on to say that Mr. Lucas was there as a husband supporting his wife and her outstanding achievement.

After speaking with General Borling, it sounds like this was quite the event in downtown Rockford Saturday night.

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