Herman and Ellnora Krannert
A native of Chicago, Herman Krannert was a 1912 graduate of the University of Illinois (Engineering) and the founder and chairman of the Inland Container Corporation, which pioneered one of the first forms of corrugated cardboard. Ellnora, his wife, was a native of Indiana and a graduate of Brenau College. She was committed to making the Midwest a center of culture and the arts, and she and Herman contributed the funds to establish Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The Krannerts' generous philanthropy also included the founding of Krannert Art Museum and a donated bust of Beethoven that sits at the entrance to the Foellinger Great Hall. Ellnora's background in art and her sensibilities as a patron of the performing arts informed many of the design features of Krannert Center, including the vast central lobby and many of the textiles used throughout the building. The Krannerts' decision to fund a performing arts center stemmed from their belief that the arts experience was "one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences people can enjoy—and, in these complex times, a most needed one."