Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, other officials to speak Paul Simon Institute’s 20th anniversary events


Jak Tichenor, interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, listens to State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, in the 39th district, speak to a crowd about the possibility of free tuition at public colleges and universities in Illinois on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. “This is not impossible,” Guzzardi said. “It’s within our reach.” (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Daily Egyptian staff

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar will speak on campus in May to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s founding, the university announced Tuesday.

Edgar, who signed the documents that created the institute on Sept. 18, 1995, will speak at 6 p.m. May 4 in the Student Center auditorium, according to a news release.

“We are delighted that Gov. Edgar will be joining us to reflect upon Sen. Simon’s living legacy through the Institute that now bears his name,” Jak Tichenor, interim institute director, said in a statement.  “Gov. Edgar was literally present at the beginning of the institute, and we deeply appreciate his continued support of the non-partisan approach to public policy development that Paul began here 20 years ago this spring.”


Other events scheduled to celebrated the institute named after the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon will include discussion about fairer school funding, children in poverty and engaging youth in public affairs and politics, according to the news release.

Here’s what the institute has planned throughout the semester:

Feb. 16: Tichenor, Linda Baker, institute university professor, and John Jackson, a visiting professor, will discuss Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Feb. 15 budget address at 5 p.m. at the institute.

March 3: Tequia Hicks-Delgado, a former White House senior adviser for congressional engagement and legislative relations, and Hicks-Delgado, who has worked for former U.S. Senate minority leader Harry Reid’s office, will give a lecture from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Student Center Ballroom B.

March 10: The institute will host a conference from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Student Center ballrooms about the report issued last week by the state’s funding reform commission. Scheduled speakers include Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Daniel Thatcher, who works with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Brent Clark, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

March 23 to 24: The institute and SIU School of Medicine among the sponsors putting on a conference to address child poverty at the University of Illinois-Springfield. Diana Rauner, president of the “Ounce of Prevention Fund” and the wife of the state’s governor, is one of the keynote speakers.

March 28: The institute will host a “Pizza and Politics” session about the poll findings state government issues, including the budget stalemate, children living in poverty and human trafficking.


April 8: Youth Government Day for high school students will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Springfield.

April 12: John Sides, an associate professor of political science at George Washington University and founder of the Washington Post’s “The Monkey Cage” blog, will speak at a lecture at 7 p.m. at Student Center Ballroom B.

May 4: Edgar will speak at 6 p.m. at the Student Center Auditorium.

The Daily Egyptian’s news desk can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3397.

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