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Communications and Marketing

Lincoln Honor Roll Society to feature Joshua Bill ’04

As a longtime high school history teacher, Joshua Bill ’04 makes history come alive for his students. An award-winning teacher at Waukegan High School, the Lake Forest alumnus will be featured at the annual Lincoln Honor Roll Society reception at the Chicago History Museum on Tuesday, February 12.  

“Much of what has worked for me in engaging students into the topic of Lincoln are ideas that I learned at Lake Forest College,” the history and education double major said. “In my History 300 class, we were assigned a book full of Lincoln’s speeches and writings. Many of the works were things I had never seen. Part of what I do in the classroom is share these documents with students. They are surprised to see that Lincoln was far more complex than the standard narrative they have been fed in school. In teaching these documents, students are introduced to a new Lincoln and, I think, come to know and appreciate him far more than they ever had.”

The museum chose to feature Bill this year because of his exemplary service as an educator both at Waukegan High School and as part of the museum-affiliated Chicago Metro History Fair. “His expertise in engaging and inspiring his students about Abraham Lincoln seemed a natural fit with the Society’s history and the Museum’s mission,” said Eric Sharp of the Chicago History Museum.  

The Lincoln Honor Roll Society was established to recognize those special individuals and families who support the Chicago History Museum. Society members are a diverse group spanning back to the founding of the Chicago Historical Society. Members are inscribed into a special ledger book that lists bequests and gifts going back to the 19th Century, when President Abraham Lincoln was an honorary member of the then Chicago Historical Society. Other names inscribed include Henry. D. Gilpin, whose gift made in 1860 helped the institution rebound after the Great Chicago Fire, when all of the collections and the Society’s building were burned to the ground.  

Bill, who was recognized as a Senior 25 during his time at Lake Forest, has also been named History Day Teacher of the Year and the Gilder-Lehman teacher in both Illinois and nationally. His fervor for history serves as an inspiration for his students; six student projects were guided by Joshua to National History Day.  

—Alaia Singh ’21