Daily Egyptian

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to celebrate 20 years

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

By Diamond Jones

Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar will serve as the keynote speaker for the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s 20th anniversary celebration at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Student Center Auditorium.

Edgar, a companion to the late two-term Illinois senator Paul Simon, was the sitting governor when the institute was created. Edgar signed the document forming the institute in 1995.

“We’re happy to bring him here,” said Delio Calzolari, the Institute’s associate director. “Simon and Edgar, being from different parties, worked together to make progress for the state of Illinois and the people.”

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Elected in 1990, Edgar inherited the largest deficit in Illinois history. In 1994, Edgar was re-elected by the largest plurality any incumbent governor has ever received, winning 101 of the state’s 102 counties.

After leaving office in 1999, Edgar became a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. He also sits on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and corporations.

Edgar now leads the Edgar Fellows Program, which “brings together emerging leaders to foster the statesmanship that will address major challenges across regional, partisan and ethnic lines,” according to the institute’s flyer for the event.

John Jackson, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon institute, said for the past 20 years the institute has fostered involvement in government by inviting the community to all its events.

“That’s of significant importance to Carbondale and the area we serve,” Jackson said.

The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Campus reporter Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_dimewrites.

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