Pritzker Military Museum & Library honors citizen soldiers

  • Pritzker Military Museum & Library founder Jennifer Pritzker, second from right, congratulates award winners, from left, Dr. Richard W. Schneider, Dr. Margaret MacMilan and John Rowe at the 2021 gala.

    Pritzker Military Museum & Library founder Jennifer Pritzker, second from right, congratulates award winners, from left, Dr. Richard W. Schneider, Dr. Margaret MacMilan and John Rowe at the 2021 gala. Courtesy of Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Updated 10/29/2021 10:45 PM

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library raised nearly $800,000 at its annual Liberty Gala as a small group of sponsors and honored guests joined together on Thursday, Oct. 21. Additional guests participated in the night's engaging program online.

The PMML celebrated and honored the service of soldiers, particularly those who served during the Cold War, which served as the Gala's theme. Awards were presented to the winners of the Citizen Soldier Award and the Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The two Founder's Awards were presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to furthering the mission of the Museum & Library.


The funds raised at this year's Liberty Gala will allow the museum and library to continue educating the public on military history, military affairs and national security by providing a forum for the study and exploration of the military. Contributions will also help provide critical funding for all the Museum & Library's efforts, such as book and artifact preservation, the collection of oral histories and the production of educational resources.

The 2021 Liberty Gala focused on the Cold War, which occurred when the ideological rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union flourished. This rivalry lasted roughly 45 years following World War II. Today, historians are still debating the historical significance of this period in the country's collective history. The PMML recognizes the advances, service and sacrifices made during this period. This message was conveyed in the night's video production which included mentions of their recent Cold War Veterans Memorial Design Competition. The video was elegantly produced by the Museum & Library's Emmy-nominated production crew.

The Gala kicked off with a silent auction, which ran from Oct. 18-22. There were several exciting auction items, including: a four-person tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple and an overnight stay at the Frank Lloyd Wright Emil Bach House, a VIP weekend at the Wende Museum in Culver City, Calif., tickets to "The Queen's Ball: A Bridgerton Experience," and tickets to the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruises.

"The Pritzker Military Museum & Library serves the public through preservation and education covering military history, military affairs and national security," said Susan Rifkin, Pritzker Military Museum & Library Interim CEO. "The proceeds of the Gala and silent auction are critical in helping us maintain our goals and allows the Museum & Library to continue its successes and expand our reach. We are honored to have so many contributors believe in our work."

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The Military Museum & Library founder, Jennifer Pritzker, a retired colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, presented four awards throughout the evening.

• John Rowe and Williamson "Wick" Murray were honored with Founder's Awards for their extraordinary contributions to the mission of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and the preservation of the heritage of the Citizen Soldier.

• The Pritzker Military Museum & Library's Citizen Soldier Award was presented to Richard Schneider, Ph.D., a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. It celebrates the accomplishments of individuals who have served in leadership roles in both military and civilian endeavors. The Citizen Soldier Award stands to honor a person who exemplifies the traditions of the citizen soldier set by George Washington; a person who served the nation as a leader in war and in peace, for the betterment of the common good. Dr. Schneider personifies these qualities through both his service in the military and his achievements as the former president of Norwich University.

• Professor of international history and award-winning author Dr. Margaret MacMillan was presented with the 15th annual Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. This award serves to recognize a living author who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of military history, including military affairs. Author or co-author of 15 publications, MacMillan has been recognized nationally and internationally for her work regarding the international and military history of the 19th and 20th centuries.


"The Pritzker Military & Museum believes in uniting the past and present lessons of history to create positive change for the world," stated Colonel Pritzker. "Each of these prestigious awards helps us accomplish that by honoring individuals who value the gifts of history. Dr. Richard W. Schneider, Margaret MacMillan, John Rowe and Williamson Murray are well deserving of these awards, and we could not have thought of better individuals with the qualifications of each award."

For a list of this year's gala sponsors, please visit the Pritzker Military Museum & Library website at

The Pritzker Military Museum & Library aims to increase the public's understanding of military history, military affairs, and national security by providing a forum for the study and exploration of our military -- past, present, and future -- with a specific focus on their stories, sacrifices, and values. With national and global reach, these spaces and events aim to share the stories of those who served and their contributions as citizen soldiers, helping citizens everywhere appreciate the relationship between the armed forces and the civilians whose freedoms they protect. A nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization, the Museum & Library features diverse collections, scholarly initiatives, and public programs from its flagship center in downtown Chicago to its world-class research center and park currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin.

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