Yepsen likely to be named Simon Institute director

By Gus Bode

With two of the three candidates for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s directorship out of the running, David Yepsen is likely to be named the institute’s new director today.

Yepsen, a political columnist, became the front runner for the job after state Rep. Arthur Turner withdrew his name from consideration less than a week after reports surfaced that officials in the institute wanted someone else for the job.

Dave Gross, a university spokesman, said he could neither confirm nor deny Yepsen receiving the position.


An announcement is set for 1 p.m. today in the lobby of the institute.

Bill Freivogel, the third candidate and director of the school of journalism, said Tuesday he had no press conference scheduled for today and had not been offered the job.

He said he expected Yepsen to be named the institute’s director.

‘I think he will be a terrific director and I hope we can get him involved with the school of journalism like (former director) Mike Lawrence was and (founder) Paul Simon was before him,’ said Freivogel, also a visiting professor with the institute.

Simon, a former two-term U.S. Senator from Illinois, founded the institute in 1997 before he died in 2003. The institute works directly with elected officials and others to implement changes in public policy.

Sources close to the process said they expected Turner to be named to the position last week despite the institute’s Board of Counselors’ recommendation of Yepsen.

But negotiations between Turner and SIU President Glenn Poshard delayed, sources said, and Turner withdrew his name Monday so he could continue serving in the Illinois legislature.


‘Representative Turner is one of the most effective leaders in Springfield and he felt that at this particular time in state government the best use of his talents was in helping solve the serious problems now confronting our state,’ Poshard said in the release.

A receptionist at the Hampton Inn of Carbondale said a reservation has been made under the name of David Yepsen for tonight.

Yepsen could not be reached for comment.

Poshard confirmed Jan. 27 the institute’s board chose Yepsen.

A separate search committee chose three finalists and recommended them equally to Poshard, he said.

Any decision Poshard makes will have to be approved at the SIU Board of Trustees’ next meeting scheduled Feb. 12.