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The six finalists (listed in alphabetical order) for the Institute Director search include:

Dr. James Coyle - (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae- Coyle is the current Director of the Center for Global Education at Chapman University in Orange, California, a position which he has held since 2004.  Before that Coyle was a U. S. Foreign Service Officer from 1979 through 2003.  Coyle holds a PhD. In Political Science from George Washington University, the MPA from Temple and a B. S. from Georgetown University.  He is the author of one book, Politics in the Middle East: Culture and Conflict, published by Prentice Hall in 2003 and also the author of a wide variety of articles published in mass media outlets including Newsweek, the New Atlanticist, Stars and Stripes, and a long list of articles published in the Orange County Register. 

Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin - (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae- Gedmin is currently a Senior Director at a consulting firm, Blue Star Strategies, in Washington, D. C.  He is on the board of the Foreign Service School’s master’s degree program at the U. S. Foreign Service School, and on the board at the Atlantic Council as Senior Fellow.  Much of his career has been spent in Europe where he was Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, President/CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, and President/CEO of the Legatum Institute a think tank in London. Gedmin received his Ph.D. in German Area Studies from Georgetown University.  He also taught German for five years at a private high school in Washington.

Dr. Stacy McDermott - (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae) - Dr. McDermott earned the Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  She has a B. A. and M. A. from the University of Illinois Springfield.  She is currently a Consulting Historian at the Center for State Policy and Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield.  She was Assistant Director and Associate Editor at The Papers of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield from 2009-2016.  She is the author of two books, Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman and The Jury in Lincoln’s America, plus four volumes of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln and she has published a long list of scholarly papers. 

Dr. Chris Mooney - (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae) - Mooney holds the Ph.D. in Political Science and the MPA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  From 1999 through 2004 he was the Director of the Institute for Legislative Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield.  He joined the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois in 2009 and in 2012 he became the Director, a position he held until he stepped down this summer to take the position of a named Chair at the University of Illinois Springfield.  Dr. Mooney is the author of a long list of books and articles in his field. He also has a history of leadership in the State and Local Government section of the American Political Science Association.  He was the founding editor of one of the APSA’s major journals in the field of state and local government.   

Mr. John Shaw (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae) - Mr. Shaw is a native of Illinois and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Knox College in Galesburg.  He then accepted a position in state government as a Governor’s Executive Fellow under Governor Jim Thompson.  He next took a Rotary Graduate Fellowship in Australia.  While in Australia he earned the M. A. degree in history at the University of South Wales.  Shaw next served an internship with the European Union in Brussels and became a copy editor for the Wall Street Journal Europe's Brussels office.  After returning to the United States Mr. Shaw became a congressional reporter with Market News International, which is a global news service with a specialty in financial matters. He worked for MNI from August 1991-August 2017. He continues to wroite for the Washington Diplomat, where he has covered Capitol Hill for 20 years. His new book, "Rising Star, Setting Sun: The Departure of Ike, the Arrival of JFK and the Continuing Battle for America's Future," will be released in spring 2018 by Pegasus Books. He has published four books, including a book on former Senator Richard Lugar and one on John F. Kennedy’s experience in the U. S. Senate. He is also an on-air contributor for a new PBS documentary on John F. Kennedy called, "This is the House that Jack Built."

Mr. Lester (Jak) Tichenor - (Download PDF Curriculum Vitae- Mr. Tichenor is currently the Interim Director of the Paul Simon Institute, a position he has filled since November 1, 2016.  He holds both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from SIU. He has had a long career in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) including WSIU TV (1991-2015) and WSIU Radio (1981-1991).  In those positions he worked extensively with students training them in news casting and the coverage of public affairs.  In that era he had numerous opportunities to interview Paul Simon and got to know him well.  After Senator Simon’s death, Tichenor produced a documentary on Simon which was shown on public television throughout the state and which the Institute still uses. He has served as statehouse correspondent for the “Illinois Lawmakers” statewide public television series since 1991 and in that capacity, he has interviewed nearly all statewide office holders and most members of the General Assembly.  He also produced the annual Lincoln Academy PBS specials from 1995 to 2016, featuring in-depth interviews with the Lincoln Laureates, who are among the most accomplished and celebrated citizens of the state.  

OPEN FORUM TIMES:

Each of these candidates will make a visit to SIU and meet with officials and constituents of the Institute.  Each will make a public presentation regarding their credentials and their plans for the Institute.

Those presentations are open to all and are scheduled at the following times and location:

  1. Dr. Jeff Gedmin - Thursday, September 21.  3-4 p.m.
    Illinois Room, SIU Student Center
  2. Dr. Chris Mooney - Friday, September 22.  9-10 a.m.
    Illinois Room,  SIU Student Center
  3. Dr. James Coyle - Thursday, September 28. 2-3 p.m.
    Illinois Room, SIU Student Center
  4. Mr. John Shaw - Friday, September 29.  3-4 p.m.
    Illinois Room, SIU Student Center
  5. Dr. Stacy McDermott - Monday, October 2. 3-4 p.m.
    Illinois Room, SIU Student Center
  6. Mr. Jak Tichenor - Tuesday, October 3. 2:15-3:15 p. m.
    Illinois Room, SIU Student Center