Tonight hundreds of people attended the 2023 World Leaders Forum at Judson University in Elgin. At this event, Scottish dignitaries Sir James MacMillan and business leader The Lord Smith of Kelvin celebrated the legacy of Olympian and Christian Missionary Eric Liddell whose feats at the 1924 Paris Olympics inspired the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. Tonight’s event, moderated by the Chicago Scots’ President Gus Noble, was the official North American celebration of the 100th anniversary of Eric Liddell’s gold medal performance in the 400-meter dash. At the event, Judson University President Dr. Gene Crume presented honorary doctorate degrees to keynote speakers Sir James MacMillan and The Lord Smith of Kelvin.
“This event highlights Judson University’s values of responsibility, leadership and relationships through meaningful and intellectual conversations with some of the most interesting and important leaders of our time,” said Judson University President Dr. Gene Crume. “Tonight, Sir James MacMillan and Lord Smith embodied World Leaders Forum values as they reflected on Eric Liddell’s courage, compassion, integrity, and knack for pushing boundaries. It is Judson University’s privilege to play a role in helping his legacy live on.”
At the event, the World Leaders Forum announced a donation of $20,000 to the Eric Liddell Community, an Edinburgh care charity and community hub.
“Eric Liddell was a great and brave humanitarian, and the Eric Liddell Community is one of the jewels of Scotland,” said MacMillan. “Long may his legacy continue into the future.”
The World Leaders Forum is hosted annually by Judson University to inspire the next generation of leaders and give the greater Chicago community access to prominent global leaders. At tonight’s event, Lord Smith dispensed life advice to attendees, many of whom were Judson University students.
“Be honest. Have the courage to speak up, and don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. You will make mistakes. And when you do, dust yourself off, try again, and learn from that mistake. Find opportunities to volunteer and contribute to society. It will enrich your life,” he said.
Judson University’s World Leaders Forum brings recognized world leaders to the Chicago area to provide an opportunity for Judson students and community members to be inspired by significant thought leaders. Previous keynote speakers include former President George W. Bush, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and retired Gen. David Petraeus. Proceeds from World Leaders Forum events fund two unique programs at Judson: The Roeser Scholars program which is focused on leadership development and the RISE program which provides students with intellectual disabilities the college experience. The World Leaders Forum also supports other nonprofits in the Chicago area and nationally as well as entrepreneurial and innovative initiatives that benefit students, the community and other partners of the World Leaders Forum.
About Sir James MacMillan
Sir James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and performs internationally as a conductor. MacMillan first became internationally recognized after the extraordinary success of “The Confession of Isobel Gowdie” at the BBC Proms in 1990. His major works include percussion concerto “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel,” which has received close to 500 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich, and five symphonies. Recent major works include his “Percussion Concerto No.2” for Colin Currie and his “Symphony No.5,” written for The Sixteen, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival.
MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s insight he brings to each score. He has conducted orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra Washington, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. In January 2021, MacMillan conducted the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of his “Christmas Oratorio.” Later that year, the work received its UK premiere with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. MacMillan founded the music festival The Cumnock Tryst in October 2014, which takes place annually in his native Ayrshire. MacMillan was awarded a CBE in 2004 and a Knighthood in 2015. His anthem Who Shall Separate Us? was commissioned for the 2022 funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
About The Lord Smith of Kelvin KT CH
One of the United Kingdom’s most experienced chairs, Lord Smith has led organizations in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He was Chair of SSE until July 2015. In 2014, he chaired the Organizing Committee for Glasgow 2014 (Commonwealth Games) and the Smith Commission on further powers for the Scottish Parliament. A chartered accountant by profession and former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, Lord Smith was knighted in 1999, appointed to the House of Lords as an independent cross-bench peer in 2008, appointed Knight of the Thistle in 2013, and awarded the Companion of Honour in 2016. He is currently chair of IMI plc, British Business Bank, Forth Ports Ltd. and the Commonwealth Games Federation Partnership. Additionally, he is Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.