November 17, 2008

Baughman named Simon institute interim director

by Pete Rosenbery


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Matt Baughman is the interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Don S. Rice announced the appointment today (Nov. 17).

Baughman is the ideal person to serve as interim director of the institute, Rice said.

“He has been with the Public Policy Institute for more than 10 years and during his tenure he has been involved in day-to-day operations, event planning, budget and personnel matters, and fundraising efforts,” Rice said. “Affable, skilled, and with extensive experience, Matt is a pleasure to work with. I have every comfort that the institute’s work will continue as unabated while our ongoing national search for a permanent director continues.”

Baughman is serving as interim director after the retirement of Mike Lawrence. Lawrence served as director since October 2004, following the December 2003 death of founder and former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon.

“Serving as interim director of the institute is a professional honor and a personal privilege. I am grateful for the opportunity to guide the institute during this critical period of transition in leadership,” Baughman said.

“During this time, the institute will continue to fulfill its mission by being active in public policy initiatives, fostering civic engagement among young people and providing first-rate programs free to the public,” he said. “I am confident the search committee will carefully consider its recommendation. We look forward to welcoming that person into the institute and University families. We will do all we can to be well prepared for our new director.”

A search committee chaired by John S. Jackson, a visiting professor with the institute, is in the process of identifying finalists for interviews. Jackson hopes a new director is in place early next year.

Baughman has been with the institute for more than 10 years. He began as its development officer in 1998 and was named assistant director in 2005.

He has also played an integral role in planning and implementing most of the institute’s initiatives, and as point person in arranging campus visits of the institute’s notable speakers.

Baughman worked closely with Simon’s family and spearheaded the planning of Simon’s funeral, considered one of the largest in Illinois history, with attendance by approximately 5,000 people, along with national and statewide broadcasts.

He also participated in SIUC’s mission trip to Cuba in 2001, and was among a small group, including Sen. Simon, who met for six hours with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in discussing U.S.-Cuban relations.

Baughman, a native of Herrin, grew up in Springfield. He earned his master’s of business administration from SIUC in 1997. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in economics, from Illinois College in 1994. Selected for the prestigious Dunn Fellowship Program in 1994, Baughman spent a year working in the press office of then-Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar. He also earned an associate of arts degree from Springfield College in Illinois.

Baughman and his wife, Angie, pastor of Faith Evangelical United Methodist Church, live in Vergennes with their son, Alex.