Jeanne Simon Memorial Scholarship recipient -- Kelli Tilford of Normal, middle, a senior in political science and pre-law at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the 2017 recipient of the Jeanne Hurley Simon Memorial Scholarship. With Tilford are Carolyn Wagner Snyder, left, former dean of SIU Library Affairs who worked hard in creating and funding the scholarship, and Jak Tichenor, right, interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. The institute awards the scholarship to assist undergraduate women seeking careers in public service. (Photo provided)
November 14, 2017
Tilford receives Jeanne Hurley Simon Memorial Scholarship
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Kelli Tilford of Normal, a senior in political science and pre-law at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the 2017 recipient of the Jeanne Hurley Simon Memorial Scholarship. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute awards the scholarship to assist undergraduate women seeking careers in public service.
Tilford is president of the institute’s student ambassador registered student organization and serves as a Saluki Ambassador at the university.
“I feel incredibly honored to receive a scholarship dedicated to a woman who was passionate and fearless in her pursuit to better the lives of those around her,” Tilford said. “As an elected member of the Illinois House of Representatives and through her actions as a private citizen, Jeanne Hurley Simon is truly a role model for me as I continue a career in politics and law. Living up to her legacy in any small way would be the highest honor.”
The $3,000 award will be applied to tuition, fees, and other expenses for the recipient.
“I am delighted that Kelli has been selected to receive this year’s Jeanne Hurley Simon Scholarship,” Jak Tichenor, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s interim director, said. “She has demonstrated extraordinary leadership ability in revitalizing our ambassadors program at the institute and successfully establishing it as a registered student organization at the university. It’s a wonderful testimony to Jeanne’s legacy to see it carried forward by this outstanding young person.”
Carolyn Wagner Snyder, a local supporter of the institute and former dean of SIU Library Affairs, worked tirelessly to create and fund the scholarship.
“I was pleased to work with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to establish the Jeanne Hurley Simon Memorial Scholarship to honor Jeanne’s significant accomplishments throughout her life and especially her work at SIU,” Snyder said. “Because of the generosity of the founding donors, a significant endowment was established to support the scholarship in perpetuity. I hope that the success and contributions of the scholarship recipients add to Jeanne’s legacy and immortalize her through time.”
About Jeanne Hurley Simon
Jeanne Hurley Simon was born in 1922 in Chicago to Ira W. Hurley and Margaret Reilly Hurley. She graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka and attended Barat College, which was later absorbed by DePaul University in Lake Forest. She earned her law degree at Northwestern University and worked as an attorney for the Northern Trust Co. and for the Wage Stabilization Board. She was one of the first two female assistant state’s attorneys for Cook County, serving from 1953 to 1956.
In 1956, she was elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a state representative from Illinois’ 7th statehouse district, the 18th woman to serve in the state legislature. While serving in the Illinois House of Representatives she met then-state Rep. Paul Simon.
Simon left her position as an Illinois state representative when she married Paul Simon but was deeply engaged in public service throughout her life. She helped found the Public Policy Institute, while serving as an adjunct professor in Library Affairs.
She also chaired the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, an appointment made by President Bill Clinton in recognition of her advocacy of literacy. She held these positions until her death in February 2000. Jeanne Simon is commemorated in two ways: this scholarship, which will help deserving students pursue their goals; and the Jeanne Simon Fellowship, which inspires students by bringing accomplished women in public service to campus.
More information about donating to the Jeanne Hurley Simon Scholarship fund is available at www.jeannesimon.org.