Left to right: Vincent Tomkinson, Midwest Managing Partner, Grant Thornton LLP; Andrew J. McKenna, Non-Executive Chairman of McDonald’s and Chairman Emeritus of Schwarz Supply Source; Rick Waddell, Chairman and CEO, Northern Trust; Paul La Schiazza, President, AT&T Illinois; Theresa E. Mintle; President & CEO, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

When discussing the 2015 Daniel H. Burnham Award honoree, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Chairman Paul La Schiazza may have said it best: “Rick Waddell is a great business leader, there’s no doubt about it – but I daresay he’s an even better civic leader.

On November 3 at the Hilton Chicago, Northern Trust Chairman and CEO Frederick H. Waddell joined an esteemed list of Chicago business leaders when he was honored at the 24th Daniel H. Burnham Award Dinner. Even among the city’s business elite, Waddell stands out for his commitment to philanthropy, his passion for civic involvement, and his dedication to giving back to the community he serves.

“The 23 men and women who have previously won this ward were truly instrumental in shaping Chicago into the world-class city it is today,” said Vincent Tomkinson, Midwest Managing Partner of Grant Thornton LLP. “The man we are honoring at this dinner is no different.”

“I am humbled to join the ranks of the 23 previous Burnham Award honorees,” Waddell said during his acceptance speech. “Clearly, we have a heritage of generosity in Chicago. Today, the need is greater than ever, and I believe we are called upon to do more than ever.”

During his remarks, Waddell challenged everyone in the room to embrace early childhood education, saying that without the business community’s active and ongoing participation, we will be unable to make the long-term self-sustaining positive change that we all want for Chicago.

“As business and civic leaders, early childhood education should be important to all of us. The benefits to society and the business community are huge if we get it right,” Waddell said. “Early childhood education should be viewed as a long-term investment in our workforce development. We need to make sure that we as business leaders understand we cannot have a vibrant, growing economy without a highly educated workforce. The economic impact is undeniable. Investing in children will lead to less crime, more jobs and more tax revenue.”

During his remarks, Paul La Schiazza emphasized the need for the business community to step up to the plate.

“It’s no secret that our city is facing historical challenges right now,” La Schiazza said. “As leaders in the business community – now more than ever – we need to step up, create jobs in our communities, foster an innovative and entrepreneurial culture, and build a foundation that will allow Chicago to thrive now and into the future.”

As Chicagoland Chamber President and CEO Theresa E. Mintle pointed out when she opened the event, that sentiment is what the Daniel H. Burnham Award has been all about for 24 years.

“Each of these honorees demonstrates the unbreakable link between good business and a strong community,” Mintle said. “At the Chamber, we stand to live by the example set by our business leaders and these Burnham honorees.

Click here to view Chicago Magazine's “Party Pix” photo gallery from the event.