The Center was inaugurated at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign on October 26, 2004 as part of the centennial celebration of the Department of Political Science. It was formally dedicated as the Cline Center for Democracy on October 29, 2007; its founding endowment was provided by Richard G. and Carole J. Cline. The Clines began their lifelong involvement with the University of Illinois in the early 1950's as students at the Urbana-Champaign campus. After his student years, Mr. Cline's involvement with the University eventually led to his being named Chair of the University of Illinois Foundation's Board of Directors and co-chair of the University's major fund raising drive, Campaign Illinois, which raised more than $1.5 billion. In this campaign, the Clines made a major gift that was initially used to create an annual campus event involving distinguished speakers, students, faculty and alumni - The Cline Symposium.
Mr. Cline worked closely with Professor Peter F. Nardulli, who was at that time head of the Department of Political Science, to organize the yearly symposium. This collaboration led to discussions about institutionalizing the Cline initiative, which ultimately became the Cline Center for Democracy. Richard G. Cline's wisdom and energy was invaluable in translating the vision of the Center into a concrete organizational structure and his vision was facilitated by the support of Dean Jesse G. Delia, then Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Cline Center's operations have been enhanced by financial support from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a number of individuals, corporate entities and foundations. A partial list of the Center's benefactors includes: Richard G. and Carole J. Cline; Robert Aaron; Jerry and Ann Nerad, Samuel K. Gove; David Colby, Dorothy Linowes, William and Paul Schroeder; Anthony Petullo, Richard Romano, Jay and Shelley Sarver; The Joyce Foundation; the Kauffman Foundation; The McCormick Foundation; Nicor, Inc.; The Northern Trust Company; and PepsiAmericas.
About Richard G. and Carole J. Cline
Richard G. Cline is a 1957 graduate of UIUC. He majored in political science with minors in history and philosophy, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated with highest honors.
After three years in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Cline became managing editor of American Veterinary Publications, Inc. He then served 22 years with Jewel Companies, Inc., a Chicago-based diversified retailer; he was elected the company's Chairman and CEO in 1984. Mr. Cline then became Chairman and CEO of Nicor, Inc., a natural gas distribution and container shipping company. He retired from Nicor in 1995 and shortly thereafter established Hawthorne Investors, Inc., a private investment and management advisory company.
Mr. Cline has been a member of the boards of directors of PepsiAmericas, Inc. and Ryerson Inc., and a trustee and Chairman of the Northern Funds, Northern Institutional Funds and Northern Multi-Manager Funds. He has also been a corporate board member for Kmart Corporation; Pet Inc.; Aurrera S.A. de C.V; and Hussmann International, Inc., where he was Chairman of the Board. He served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and was its Chairman from 1991 to 1994.
Cline has been an Executive in Residence and guest lecturer on business ethics at UIUC's College of Commerce and Business Administration; he is a past chairman and life member of that college's Advisory Council. He and his wife established the Richard G. and Carole J. Cline Symposium on Values and the Public Interest in the Department of Political Science at UIUC. They also sponsored the Winter Forum in the Great Cities Program at the Chicago campus. He was named UIUC's Charles S. Hyneman Fellow in 1991 and has received the University's Alumni Achievement Award. Cline has been Chairman of the University of Illinois Foundation and was Co-chairman of Campaign Illinois, the University's private fundraising drive that concluded in 2002.
Carole J. Cline attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been chief executive of the Cline family since Dick and Carole married in 1957. They have four children and 16 grandchildren. Carole has been active in community service and philanthropic activities for many years, most recently as member of the Board of Directors of the DuPage Community Foundation for more than a decade.
Echoes of Freedom
In 2007, Richard Cline wrote Echoes of Freedom, his personal reflections on the concepts at the heart of the Cline Center's conception.