Press Release

1871 CEO, Entrepreneur Howard Tullman Named Recipient of 2015 Public Humanities Award

CHICAGO, IL- Feb 24, 2015— The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will honor Howard A. Tullman, CEO of digital startup incubator 1871, with the 2015 Public Humanities Award at the IHC’s annual benefit luncheon on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

A serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, educator, writer, lecturer and art collector, Tullman has fostered a vibrant relationship between the humanities and business. Under his leadership, 1871 has become a globally renowned space for ideas, collaboration and innovation.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called 1871 “a driving force for Chicago’s tech scene, creating jobs and opportunity.”

Given annually by the IHC since 1984, the Public Humanities Award recognizes individuals and organizations that have helped transform lives and strengthened communities through the humanities.


Support Howard and the Illinois Humanities Council by purchasing a table at the luncheon.
Click here for more information about table levels.

Individual tickets go on sale April 1, 2015.

“Business is a human pursuit, with creativity, innovation and collaboration serving as tenets for success. Howard has highlighted these principles in the operations of 1871, with initiatives that engage political leaders, veterans, women, youth, and people of color,” said Angel Ysaguirre, IHC executive director. “We are delighted to honor Howard, who models the way the humanities can strengthen all aspects of life, including business.”

Throughout his career, Tullman has encouraged art as a vantage point for expression and digital innovation. He is a co-founder and former Chairman and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, a premier digital media arts college in Chicago. He also served as president of Kendall College in Chicago, where he transformed the seventy-year-old college into a major national leader in the culinary and hospitality education market.

He continues to serve on the City of Chicago’s ChicagoNEXT and Cultural Advisory Councils, as well as on the Illinois Arts Council. Tullman is Chairman of the Endowment Committee of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago. He has served as a Trustee of WTTW in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University and the New York Academy of Art. He was also lead Director (and briefly Chairman) of The Princeton Review. Tullman was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and is an active art collector, lender and donor to museums throughout Illinois and the Midwest.

He lectures regularly on venturing, change management, and entrepreneurship as Adjunct Professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston and at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. He is the author of The Perspiration Principles and writes a weekly blog for INC. Magazine.

“Howard is a cultural phenomenon,” said Joel Henning, IHC Board Member and one of this year’s co-chairs. “I’m delighted to help honor a man who has done more than anyone here to nurture high-tech creativity and entrepreneurialism and also stimulate cutting edge contemporary art, all of which has vastly enhanced the economics and culture of Illinois and indeed the entire country.”

In addition to Joel F. Henning, this year’s co-chairs are Richard S. Price, chairman and CEO of Mesirow Financial and Murray S. Peretz, founding principal of Spectrum Real Estate Properties. .

The Public Humanities Award Luncheon will take place Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Palmer House Hilton Chicago (17 E. Monroe Street) in Chicago, Illinois. Doors open at 11:00am with the program beginning at 12:00pm. For individual reservations and sponsorship opportunities, including the purchase of tables, please call Liesl Pereira at 312.422.5584 or visit All proceeds from the luncheon will support the programs of the Illinois Humanities Council.

Past PHA awardees have included Lisa Lee, director of the School of Art and Art History at UIC; the Honorable Abner and Zoe Mikva; publisher Bruce Sagan and artist Bette Cerf Hill; Carlos Tortolero, founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art; Anne Roosevelt, Boeing Vice President and John A. Wing, Chairman Emeritus of the Chicago Corporation. Last year’s recipients were Chicago Dancing Festival co-founder Jay Franke and businessman David Herro.

About the Illinois Humanities Council 

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with a mission to strengthen society by fueling inquiry and conversation about the ideas and works that shape our culture. The IHC engages communities across Illinois in conversation in a variety of humanities programs that focus on Public Policy, Media & Journalism, Business and Art. The IHC lowers barriers to participation and offers access to programs, events, and grants to all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.