September 05, 2019

U.S. Senate Historian to discuss changing concepts of leadership

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Betty Koed, the third Historian of the United States Senate, will provide her perspectives on leadership within that legislative body on Monday at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

Koed will present a lecture, “Defining Leadership: Perspectives from Senate History” at 6 p.m. in the SIU School of Law Hiram H. Lesar Building Auditorium. Hosted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the lecture is free and open to the public.

The first woman to be Senate historian, Koed is a frequent guest on C-SPAN, including in January 2019 for the network’s original production “The Senate: Conflict and Compromise.”

Koed joined the Senate Historical Office in 1998 and became the Senate Historian in 2015. A three-degree graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara, Koed received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016. She has also taught there.

As Senate Historian, Koed supervises all historical and archival projects, provides talks and presentations to senators, staff and the public on wide-ranging topics of Senate history, and conducts oral history interviews with former senators and staff. 

She oversees more than 10,000 pages of historical material on the Senate website, is senior editor of the “Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress,” and provides research and reference assistance to the Senate community, the public, and the media. She is a former officer of the Society for History in the Federal Government and has served on the editorial board of “The Public Historian.”

Media Availability

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the lecture. There will be a media availability before Koed’s lecture. To arrange for interviews or for more information on the event, contact Cary Day, marketing and communications coordinator, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, at 618/453-4008.

An ‘accomplished historian’ 

The lecture is part of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s fall 2019 program that will highlight leadership challenges facing Illinois and the nation. Koed will explain the “changing notions of statesmanship in the U.S. Senate,” John T. Shaw, Institute director said. Koed will also meet with students to discuss her career as a historian and also review the Paul Simon Papers at Morris Library while visiting campus, Shaw said.

“Betty is an accomplished historian who is very skilled at making the complicated story of the Senate and of American politics understandable,” Shaw said. “She brings history to life in a fresh and vivid way and will help us better understand the changing ideas of leadership in the U.S. Senate.”

Visit for more information on the Institute and upcoming events.