Frank W. GunsaulusFounders Group
delivered the “Million Dollar Sermon,” which inspired Philip Danforth Armour, Sr., to found Armour Institute. Gunsaulus then served as the school’s president for 27 years.
There are times when a city is thrown into mourning by the loss of one of its citizens. The death of Frank Gunsaulus in 1921 occasioned such an instance in Chicago. While his name is barely recognized today, it is carved into the history of our city in the many educational and religious institutions, the numerous arts and cultural organizations, and humanitarian programs he fostered. His oratorical powers were such that his voice alone appears to have been sufficient to ensure success. Financial support in the form of artworks and books gift several of Chicago’s collecting institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, which has named a hall in his honor. Gunsaulus’ personal collection of rare books is housed in IIT’s Galvin Library.
In motivating Philip Armour to found Armour Institute, Gunsaulus began one of the two halves that would be joined to create IIT in 1940. Dr. Gunsaulus dedicated thirty years of his life to the school, its students, and its faculty. Stories abound of his constant presence and his limitless endurance. So how did he accommodate in his schedule such activities as being an avid book and art collector, and a noted authority on rare manuscripts and on Wedgwood Pottery? As an ordained minister he pastored a large congregation, preaching Sunday morning sermons until only months before his death at age 65. And as a nationally known orator and lecturer, he was constantly traveling across much of the country, this before air travel or even cars.
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