February 20, 2013

Lecture series will feature Jerry Costello

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Jerry F. Costello, a recently retired U.S. Congressman from Southern Illinois, has agreed to deliver a series of lectures for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in 2013.  Costello’s yearlong service to the Institute will include public events, guest lecturing in classes and speaking to students in a variety of disciplines on Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

Costello, who served 25 years in the U.S. House of Representatives until choosing to not seek reelection in 2012, was ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation as part of his serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  He also served on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

“Congressman Costello is a longtime friend and supporter of SIU, and I am pleased he has agreed to share his expertise and experiences with the University community,” SIU Carbondale Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “His message to students about the importance of public service will be particularly valuable.”

Institute Director David Yepsen said: “Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Jerry Costello gained a reputation as an effective advocate for his district who gained the respect from members on both sides of the aisle. Countless students will benefit from the knowledge gained and lessons learned from his long career in both Washington and on the St. Clair County Board.”

Costello is looking forward to the opportunity to engage with young people in retirement from elected office.

“When I announced that I would not seek re-election, I said that one of the things I wanted to do after leaving Congress was to teach and lecture. I am very pleased to partner with SIU and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to participate in helping students better understand government, the political process and how to be engaged citizens,” he said.

Costello will make at least five public appearances on the two campuses throughout the course of the year where he will reflect on his time working in the nation’s capitol and offer some insights on what today’s politicians should do to better address critical issues that could move the country forward.  He will also address the future of aviation, space, infrastructure and technology matters, help young people understand what opportunities and challenges await them as they complete their education and prepare to enter the workforce and, hopefully, be engaged citizens.

“We are grateful earnings from our endowment allow us to provide someone of Jerry Costello’s stature and expertise to the students as a way to enrich their educational experiences and promote the need for young people to be involved in government and in their communities as our future leaders,” said Yepsen.

Laurie Rice, SIU Edwardsville associate professor of political science and director of the school’s Civic Education Project, is taking the lead on that campus to coordinate the visits by Costello.

“We are excited about this opportunity made possible by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute for students and others to hear from Jerry Costello about the insights he has drawn from his 25 years in Congress while serving the people of Southern Illinois,” she said.

The Simon Institute, which is committed to its bi-partisan heritage, is known for hosting speakers from all corners of the political and ideological perspectives.  The late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon founded the Institute in 1997.

Costello’s first public lecture will be on the Carbondale campus on Tuesday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in the SIU Student Center ballrooms.  His appearance will follow a daylong visit to campus where he will interact with students in a variety of settings.  His first appearance on the Edwardsville campus is set for Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m. in Lovejoy Library’s Abbott Auditorium.  More details on these and other events will be forthcoming.