October 27, 2009

Exhibit, program on Sen. Simon coming to Chicago

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A special exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of the late Sen. Paul Simon is coming to Chicago.

“Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage” is both a special exhibit and a thought-provoking program from the Special Collections Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library.

The program is set for 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local #134 office located at 600 W. Washington St. The exhibit accompanies the program. Both are free and open to the public. A reception will follow the program.

Abner Mikva, whose career includes service as U.S. congressman, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and White House counsel for President Bill Clinton, will speak. Mikva served with Simon in the state legislature.

Also scheduled to talk are Nancy Chen, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and former Simon staff member, and Martin Simon who is a photographer, owner of MHS Images Inc. and the son of Paul Simon.

The new exhibit features a substantial collection of Paul Simon’s papers, artifacts, photographs, campaign memorabilia and other items. Visitors can learn about his work with constituents, his foreign relations efforts and his political campaigns, including his 1988 presidential campaign.

The exhibit highlights the legislative issues he handled and his relationship with President Barack Obama. The balanced budget amendment, the direct student loan program, television violence and missing and exploited children were important issues to Simon as the exhibit shows. Essentially, it’s a peek at Simon’s life and his influence and contributions to the state and the country.

“The Paul Simon papers and exhibit are important for students, scholars and political junkies to see because it provides an opportunity to learn from a great political mind. Simon was probably one of the most influential legislators Illinois has ever seen,” said Pamela Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center at the SIUC Morris Library.

The Illinois Humanities Council, IBEW Local #134, the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council and SIUC’s Morris Library are providing support for the event. For more information about the Paul Simon exhibit, his papers, or Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center call 618/453-2516 or e-mail speccoll@lib.siu.edu.