|Membership level: Hall of Fame|
Ambassador Paul Heron Robinson, Jr.
Inductee Year 2003
|Ambassador Paul Robinson is a 1948 graduate of Hinsdale Township High School. He graduated from the University of Illinois, and in 1953 he married his high school sweetheart, Martha C. Bidwell (class of ’49). They have a daughter, Virginia Robinson Halls. At HTHS he started in football, baseball and was heavyweight-boxing champion.
During the Korean War, he was a commissioned officer aboard a Destroyer in the U.S. Navy. He still serves the Navy as a member of the Advisory Board of the Naval Academy and is an honorary member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.
Mr. Robinson’s business career started in group insurance and he quickly formed his own company. His successes came rapidly and now has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Sydney, Australia. He is also represented in London, and Toronto. As an international businessman, his firm of specialist brokers in group insurance and mutual funds have been endorsed by the U.S. national societies of architecture, engineering and pharmacy, as well as medical and dental societies.
In 1981, Ambassador Robinson was appointed by President Reagan as the United States Ambassador to Canada. During his tenure of over four years, he played the leading role in the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), between the United States and Canada, and Mexico later. In Canada he is known as “The Godfather of Free Trade.” After Ambassador Robinson’s announcement of his return to Illinois, President Ronald Reagan wrote: “Your four years in Canada as my representative have been highly productive, and you can be proud of the achievements that have taken place during your watch. I entirely agree with your assessment that U.S.-Canada relations are better today than at any time since World War II. You deserve a good measure of the credit.”
In addition to his public roles, Ambassador Robinson has served as Chairman of the English Speaking Union of the United States and Chairman of the International Churchill Society of the United States.