November 19, 2008

Three finalists in running to lead Simon institute

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two veteran journalists and the deputy majority leader of the Illinois House of Representatives are finalists for director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

William H. Freivogel, the director of SIUC’s School of Journalism and a professor with the institute, state Rep. Arthur L. Turner, D-Chicago, and David A. Yepsen, the nationally recognized political columnist with the Des Moines Register, are finalists to replace Mike Lawrence.

Lawrence retired earlier this month after serving as director since October 2004 following the December 2003 death of founder and former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon. Matt Baughman, who has been with the institute for more than 10 years, is serving as interim director.

“I am very pleased with the credentials and the quality of these three finalists,” said John S. Jackson, a visiting professor with the institute who chaired the 11-member search committee. “They represent many years of experience and significant accomplishment in the public sector. Each of the three has some unique credentials that will be very applicable to this job.”

The three finalists will come to campus for interviews, Jackson said. He hopes the interviews can happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Interview times and dates are to be determined.

The search committee will then meet to make a recommendation to Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Don S. Rice, Interim Chancellor Sam Goldman, and SIU President Glenn Poshard. Poshard and the Board of Trustees must approve the recommendation.

A total of eighteen candidates applied for the position. Jackson was pleased with the interest for what is a “very unusual position like this.”

“This is both an academic and applied-world position, and you need to have a foot in both camps,” he said. “Finding people who have that kind of background to essentially take the place of Paul Simon and Mike Lawrence is a very tall order. We had a number of good candidates, but we think these three are the best of the lot.”

Freivogel came to SIUC in January 2006 as a university professor at the institute after 34 years as an award-winning journalist and deputy editorial page editor with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He became director of the School of Journalism in SIUC’s College of Mass Communication and Media Arts in 2007, after serving as interim director since July 2006.

Freivogel’s experience at the newspaper includes 12 years in Washington, D.C., first as a correspondent, and then as assistant Washington bureau chief. His work included covering the U.S. Supreme Court, and reporting on events including the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Freivogel’s editorials on former Attorney General John Ashcroft criticizing abuses of civil liberties in the aftermath of the 9/11 made him a finalist in the 2002 Pulitzer Prize competition. Among his numerous awards, Freivogel was the main contributor to a 1987 project that earned the Benjamin Franklin award as the best newspaper series on the bicentennial of the Constitution.

While in Washington, D.C., his stories on defense fraud by General Dynamics Corp. helped reform defense contracting. Stories on the mishandling of dioxin contamination in Missouri and political machinations within the Environmental Protection Agency lead up to the resignation of former EPA director Anne Gorsuch. At the School of Journalism, Freivogel introduced multi-media reporting courses into the curriculum, including “The Cairo Project,” resulting in a book, a Web site and a conference in May, sponsored by the institute and the School of Journalism, on the community’s history and the problems it faces.

Freivogel earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1971 from Stanford University, and a law degree in 2001 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

Turner, the Ninth District state representative since 1981, has served as deputy majority leader since 1983. His district is on the west side of Chicago. During his legislative tenure, Turner chaired the Housing Committee, and served as a vice -chair of the Higher Education Committee.

His current committee appointments include prison reform and revenue. His previous committee assignments included energy and environment, labor and commerce, consumer protection and insurance. His legislative Web site states Turner is known as “Father of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund,” a measure that passed in 1990 and averages more than $20 million annually in helping families throughout the state.

In February 2007, Turner received the institute’s 2007 Ralph A. Dunn Public Service Award.

Turner earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973 from Illinois State University, and a master’s degree in social justice in 1981 from Lewis University. A full-time legislator, Turner worked as an investigator with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1973 to 1981.

Yepsen is a well-recognized political analyst, covering every Iowa presidential caucus campaign since 1976. A 35-year journalist, Yepsen is a regular commentator on Iowa politics and presidential caucus campaigns, appearing on shows including “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “This Week,” as well as appearing on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and National Public Radio. He co-hosted the 2007 Iowa Presidential Debate on ABC-TV with George Stephanopoulos.

Earlier this year, Yepsen was a fellow at the Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School, where he led a study group of students examining the presidential nominating process. In 1989, he was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Yepsen has spoken at SIUC twice.

Yepsen earned his bachelor’s degree in 1972 from the University of Iowa, and earned a mater’s degree in public administration in 1985 from Drake University. He was also a part-time instructor in 1986-87 at Drake, teaching a class on “The Press, the Politician and the Public Manager” for master’s of public administration students.

For more information, contact Jackson at the institute at 618/453-4009.

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