October 13, 2009

Simon exhibit opens Oct. 18 at Morris Library

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage,” an exhibit highlighting the life and legacy of the late Sen. Paul Simon, will officially open on Sunday, Oct. 18, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library.

A special program at 2:30 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium will open the exhibit. Both the presentation and exhibit showcase the life and work of a man who devoted his life to public service.

The presentation is the first in a series of programs throughout the state, all free and open to the public. Guest speakers for the opening presentation include Edward M. Smith, president of ULLICO Inc. and member of the Democratic National Committee; SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman; Sheila Simon, clinical associate law professor and daughter of Paul Simon; David H. Carlson, dean of Library Affairs; and David Yepsen, director of SIUC’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which Simon founded. Following the program, the Simon exhibit opens in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

“Compassion, vision and courage. These were the qualities Paul Simon looked for in our country and its leaders. He had them in abundance. Raised in a family of faith, Simon saw politics as a career to service. His early years formed traits exhibited throughout his career: a commitment to help society’s needy, the responsibility to exercise good stewardship of public goods and the courage to stand for what he felt was right even when unpopular. His early work in journalism taught Simon how to listen to constituents. Simon communicated his views so that they knew his positions were reasonable, whether they agreed or not. He respected them; they trusted him. They knew that he would fight for what was right,” said Pamela Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center at the University’s Morris Library.

The new exhibit focuses on Simon’s work with his constituents, his writings, his political campaigns and his work with foreign relations and legislative issues. Photographs, artifacts, campaign memorabilia and other items will tell the story of his 1988 presidential campaign, his ties with President Barack Obama and his efforts on various issues including the balanced budget amendment, the direct student loan program, television violence, and missing and exploited children.

Exhibit visitors will get a compelling glimpse of Simon’s life and his impact and contributions to the region, the state and the country, organizers say.

The SIUC collection will also be traveling during the upcoming months. Special programs will accompany the exhibit’s showings.

An $8,850 grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly, along with funding from the Special Collections Research Center at Morris Library, are funding the exhibit and accompanying public presentations.

Currently, the schedule for “Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage” includes:

• Oct. 18, 2:30 p.m., John C Guyon Auditorium and Hall of Presidents and Chancellors, Morris Library, SIUC. Official exhibit opening and program.

• Nov. 3, 6 p.m., International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #134 headquarters, 600 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. Scheduled speakers for the presentation “Paul Simon’s Influence on State Government” include Abner Mikva, retired chief judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Nancy Chen from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. Mikva and Simon worked on legislation to improve state government, while Chen served on Simon’s staff.

• Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., Tri-Township Public Library auditorium, 209 S. Main Street, Troy. The event is “Paul Simon As Journalist” and planned speakers include Charles Klotzer, editor of “St. Louis Journalism Review.”

• Jan. 13, 2010, 2 p.m., Benton Public Library auditorium, 502 S. Main St., Benton. The program, “Paul Simon’s Rise to National Prominence” will be by Sheila Simon, clinical associate law professor at SIUC and daughter of Paul Simon.

For more information about “Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage,” the papers of Paul Simon or the Special Collections Research Center and Morris Library, call 618/453-2516 or e-mail speccoll@lib.siu.edu.