At its 23rd annual cultural history conference, the Homewood-based South Suburban Heritage Association announced this year’s winner of its Distinguished Friend of South Suburban Heritage award. The recipient was Cynthia Ogorek of Calumet City.
“We usually don’t make the award to one of our own,” said Elaine Egdorf, president of the association. “But Cynthia’s contribution to our local history community has been consistent and broad.”
Ogorek, who is the owner of The Public Historian based in Calumet City, has been a practicing historian in the southern suburbs of Chicago for over twenty years.
“I was excited to be nominated for the award,” said Ogorek. “It is wonderful to be recognized like that, but doubly so because it comes from my colleagues who have been working just as long to bring our history into the limelight.”
Ogorek, a native of the Calumet Region, was named Outstanding Alumna of 2008 by the History and Political Science Department of Purdue Calumet last November. She earned her masters in U.S. history at Purdue in 1996 and also holds a certificate from the Seminar for Historical Administration at Colonial Williamsburg. She has published two award-winning books on the region’s history, The Lincoln Highway Around Chicago and Along the Calumet River. She is a past-president of the Calumet City Historical Society and currently serves on the board of the Calumet Heritage Partnership.
The South Suburban Heritage Association was founded in the mid-1980s as a means to locate and identify resources related to the history and culture of the south Cook County area. It also seeks to strengthen and promote its member organizations. The annual conferences have delved into topics as varied as transportation heritage, the French in the southern suburbs and religious diversity. This year’s program celebrated the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth with a look at his influence on the southern suburbs.
Past recipients of the Distinguished Friend of the Southern Suburbs have included Dr. Kenneth Schoon, professor of geography, Indiana University Northwest, the Star Newspapers, Illinois Senator William F. Mahar and Geoffrey Baer, producer of regional history programs on WTTW-Channel 11 Chicago.