I was honored to have gotten to know the great Abner Mikva during the home stretch of his legendary career. By the time our paths crossed, his accomplishments included stints in the White House and the federal judiciary. Yet for such a distinguished individual, Abner could not have been more humble or down to earth. He treated everyone – from young students to fellow public servants – with such kindness, respect and common decency.

I will remember him best for his incredible commitment to fostering interest for public service and philanthropy within the youth of Illinois. As a young lawyer and legislator, I can attest that I wanted to be just like Abner. It heartens me to consider that decades from now, thanks to the work of the Mikva Challenge – there will still be new generations of talented, earnest and passionate public servants who also want to be just like Abner.

May this great man rest in peace, and may his legacy live forever. I join all Illinoisans in mourning his passing.

– Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, 7/5/16