August 28, 2015

Luechtefeld to receive Dunn Public Service Award

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Illinois state Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, will receive the Ralph Dunn Public Service Award from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. 

Luechtefeld, who announced in June that he will retire from the state senate when his term ends in January 2017, will receive the award at a Nov. 2 luncheon in the SIU Student Center Ballroom B. The luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

This award was started by the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon and the institute “to honor public servants who have demonstrated a substantial, positive contribution to the citizens of Illinois by their service in government, public policy and politics.” It is named after the late state Sen. Ralph A. Dunn, who represented portions of Southern Illinois in the General Assembly from 1972 to 1995. 

“I am honored to receive this award,” Luechtefeld said. “It has been a great experience.  When I took this position 20 years ago, I worried that I would regret doing so someday. It turned out to be a very interesting and truly rewarding experience.” 

Previous award recipients include Sen. Dunn; former state comptroller, the late Dawn Clark Netsch; Paula Wolff, director of the Illinois Justice Project and former president of Governors State University; former state Rep. Art Turner; and Auditor General Bill Holland. 

David Yepsen, institute director, said “Since its creation by Paul and SIU in 1997, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has put a focus on issues like ethical conduct in government, encouraging people to enter public service and fostering civility in government.  We believe Sen. Luechtefeld’s career and conduct illustrate each of those things.” 

One of the Simon Institute’s primary missions is to encourage people, particularly young people, to embark on careers in public service. 

Luechtefeld, who began his career in the state senate in 1995, has served as an assistant minority leader since 2003.  He serves as minority spokesman on both the Education and Higher Education committees in the senate. Prior to his legislative career, he was a basketball coach at Okawville High School for 38 years and the baseball coach for 27 years.  

He also worked as a social studies teacher and athletic director at the school and is a member of both the Illinois Basketball and Baseball Halls of Fame.  He is a graduate of St. Louis University and holds a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. 

The luncheon honoring Luechtefeld is free and open to the public but RSVPs are required in advance, as space is limited. RSVPs can be sent to Additional information is available at or by calling the institute at 618/453-4078.