Past Speakers

Main Content

Temple Grandin
Animal Science professor and autism self-advocate Temple Grandin speaks to a packed house at the SIU Carbondale Student Center in October 2019.
Walter Cronkite and Paul Simon
Walter Cronkite and Paul Simon talk during an Institute event on October 9, 2003.
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou speaks during an Institute event on May 2, 2007.
Barack Obama
Then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the Institute on October 21, 2000.
John Danforth
John Danforth, former U.S. Senator from Missouri and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a visit to the Institute in 2007. 

2021

Daniel Biss – Mayor of Evanston, Illinois – Meet the Mayor virtual series – December 6, 2021
Margo Jefferson – Pulitzer Prize-winning arts critic and author of memoir Negroland – Illinois Authors virtual event – December 3, 2021
Ruth Simmons – President of Prairie View A&M University – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 29, 2021
Alice Hill – David M. Rubenstein senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 23, 2021
Anne-Marie Slaughter – CEO of New America – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 18, 2021
Stavros Lambrinidis – European Union ambassador to the United States – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 2, 2021
Elizabeth Shackelford – Senior fellow on U.S. foreign policy with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs – Understanding Our New World virtual series – October 19, 2021
Kristin Hoganson – Author and University of Illinois history professor – Illinois Authors virtual event – October 7, 2021
Tammy Duckworth 
– U.S. senator from Illinois – Understanding Our New World virtual series – October 4, 2021 
Mboka Mwilambwe
 – Mayor of Bloomington, Illinois – Meet the Mayor virtual series – October 1, 2021
Monique Jones – President of Forefront – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 20, 2021
Andrew Bacevich – Author, historian, president of Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 9, 2021
Amy McGrath – Retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and former candidate for U.S. Senate – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 31, 2021
Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz – Illinois state representative for the 17th District – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 17, 2021
Robert Hartley – Author of Paul Simon: The Political Journey of an Illinois Original and Paul Powell of Illinois: A Lifelong Democrat – Illinois Authors virtual event – August 10, 2021
Tim Knight – President and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 21, 2021
Will Stpehens – Mayor of Murphysboro, Illinois – Meet the Mayor virtual series – July 13, 2021
Candice Millard – Biographer and New York Times bestselling author – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 9, 2021
Audra Wilson – President & CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 7, 2021
Nicole Perlroth – New York Times cybersecurity reporter – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 15, 2021
Susana Mendoza
 – Illinois Comptroller – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 4, 2021
John Gaddis – Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History and Distinguished Fellow of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, Yale University – Understanding Our New World virtual series – May 25, 2021
Julie Moore Wolfe – Mayor of Decatur, Illinois – Meet the Mayor virtual series – May 12, 2021
Angela Jackson – Illinois poet laureate – Understanding Our New World virtual series – April 22, 2021
Jim Bullard
– President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – Understanding Our New World series – April 8, 2021
Elizabeth Hinton
– Yale University professor and historian – Understanding Our New World virtual series – March 25, 2021
Barbara Bodine 
– Director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy – Understanding Our New World series – March 11, 2021
Don Harmon
– Illinois State Senate President – Understanding Our New World virtual series – March 8, 2021
Institute Student Ambassadors and Jeff Doherty – Carbondale city councilman – February 25, 2021
Alexis Coe
– Presidential historian – Understanding Our New World virtual series – February 19, 2021
Jim Ardis
– Mayor of Peoria – Meet the Mayor virtual series – February 9, 2021 
Edward Larson 
– Pulitzer Prize-winning historian – Understanding Our New World virtual series – February 1, 2021
John Allen – President of the Brookings Institution – Understanding Our New World virtual series – January 26, 2021
Timothy Lynch – Professor of American politics at the University of Melbourne, Australia – Understanding Our New World virtual series – January 19, 2021
Sharon Bush – Executive director of Grand Victoria Foundation – Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series – January 5, 2021


2020

Fredrik Logevall – Pulitzer Prize-winning historian – Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series – December 16, 2020
Jorge Castañeda
– Mexico's former foreign minister – Understanding Our New world virtual series – December 10, 2020
Chasity Wells-Armstrong
– Mayor of Kankakee – Meet the Mayor virtual series – December 9, 2020
Eliot Cohen
– Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University – Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series – December 1, 2020 
Theresa Mah
– Illinois State Representative – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 12, 2020
Ertharin Cousin
– Ambassador, former executive director of the World Food Programme – Understanding Our New World virtual series – November 9, 2020
Margaret MacMillan 
– Duff Cooper Prize-winning historian – Understanding Our New World virtual series – October 28, 2020
Kimberly Lightford
 – Illinois Senate Majority Leader – Understanding Our New World virtual series – October 20, 2020
Mike Absher – Mayor of Marion – Meet the Mayor virtual series – October 14, 2020
Hanh Le – Executive director of the Weissberg Foundation – Understanding Our New World virtual series - October 6, 2020
John Danforth
– Former U.S. Senator (R-Missouri) – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 30, 2020
Pete Buttigieg 
– Former U.S. Presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 24, 2020
Richard Haass 
– President of the Council on Foreign Relations – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 21, 2020
Sherrod Brown
– U.S. Senator (D-Ohio) – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 18, 2020
Leon Rockingham, Jr.
– Mayor of North Chicago – Meet the Mayor virtual series – September 9, 2020
Michelle Howard
– Retired United States Navy four-star admiral – Understanding Our New World virtual series – September 1, 2020
Mary Robinson – Former president of Ireland – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 26, 2020
Donald McHenry
– Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 19, 2020
Carmen Rojas
– President of the Marguerite Casey Foundation – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 11, 2020
Jim Durkin 
– Illinois House Republican leader – Understanding Our New World virtual series – August 4, 2020
Juliana Stratton – Illinois lieutenant governor – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 30, 2020
Charles Ray 
– Former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe – Understanding Our New World virtual series - July 21, 2020
Angelique Power 
– President of The Field Foundation – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 7, 2020
Leon Panetta
– Former U.S. Secretary of Defense and director of the CIA – Understanding Our New World virtual series – July 1, 2020
William Burns 
– President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 18, 2020
Emanuel "Chris" Welch 
– Illinois state representative (D-7th District) – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 11, 2020
Darin LaHood
– U.S. Congressman (R-Illinois) – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 8, 2020
Rahm Emanuel – Former mayor of Chicago – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 4, 2020  
Carl Hulse
– Chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times – Understanding Our New World virtual series – June 1, 2020
Dr. Teresa Amott
 President of Knox College - Understanding Our New World virtual series – May 21, 2020
Jan Eliasson – Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations – Understanding Our New World virtual series – May 14, 2020
David Kennedy – Pulitzer Prize-winning historian – Understanding Our New World virtual series – April 29, 2020
Dr. Samuel Wheeler – Illinois state historian – "Lincoln and Kennedy: Two Iconic Presidents" – February 13, 2020
Terri Bryant – Illinois state representative – Pizza & Politics – February 10, 2020


2019

Ray LaHood – Former U.S. congressman (R-Illinois) and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary – October 21, 2019
Dr. Temple Grandin
– Animal science professor at Colorado State University and autism self-advocate – October 3, 2019
David M. Kennedy
 Pulitzer Prize-winning historian – September 23, 2019
Betty Koed
– U.S. Senate historian – September 9, 2019
Tammy Duckworth
– U.S. senator (D-Illinois) – July 12, 2019
Dr. Barbara Walter
– The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – April 11, 2019
LaToya Greenwood – Illinois state representative (D-114th District) – April 8, 2019
Harriet Elam-Thomas – Former United Nations ambassador – March 21, 2019
Emanuel "Chris" Welch – Illinois state representative (D-7th District) – January 28, 2019

2018

Tom Desch – SIU alumnus and founder of House Painter Media – November 5, 2018
Jim Nowlan
– Former Illinois state representative and author – October 24, 2018
Dr. Samuel Wheeler
– Illinois state historian – October 3, 2018
Ira Shapiro
– Former U.S. Ambassador – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – September 24, 2018
Will Davis
– Illinois state representative (D-30th District) – September 17, 2018
Dr. Pam Smoot
– September 10, 2018
Cindi Canary and Forefront 
– U.S. Census 2020 Briefing – May 4, 2018
Carl Hulse
– Chief Washington D.C. correspondent for The New York Times – April 23, 2018
Dr. Marie Griffith – John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – April 16, 2018


2017

Susana Mendoza – Illinois comptroller – November 14, 2017
Dave Severin 
– Illinois state representative – November 2, 2017
Dick Durbin
– United States senator (D-Illinois) – October 10, 2017
Katherine Cramer, Ph.D.
– Director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – September 16, 2017
Jim Edgar
– former Illinois Governor – May 4, 2017
Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler – Illinois state senators (R-58th District, R-59th District, respectively) – April 20, 2017
John Sides – Associate professor of political science at George Washington University – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – April 12, 2017
Illinois School Funding Fairness Conference (K-12) – March 10, 2017
Tequia Hicks-Delgado – Senior adviser for Congressional Engagement & Legislative Relations in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs – The Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture – March 3, 2017
Will Guzzardi – Illinois state representative (D-39th District) – January 26, 2017

2016

Ban Ki-moon – United Nations Secretary-General – December 21, 2016
Steven Ellis
– Deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management – The Gil and Jean Kroening Lecture series – October 20, 2016
Tim Tagaris and Zach Schneider
– "Two Salukis for Bernie Sanders: A View of Digital Campaign Fundraising" – September 27, 2016
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
 – September 19, 2016
Carol Marin 
– The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – September 12, 2016
SIU Debate Team Showcase – April 12, 2016
Christopher A. Smith – U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy – April 6, 2016
Tom Vilsack – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – April 23, 2016
Dr. Keona Ervin
 – The State of the American Worker Lecture series – March 22, 2016
Roy Norton – Canadian Consul General – March 3, 2016
Jeff Mays
– Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security – The State of the American Worker Lecture series – February 25, 2016

2015

Professor Richard Falk – The Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – November 18, 2015
James Durkin
– Illinois House Republican leader – November 5, 2015
David Luechtefeld
–  Illinois state senator (R-58th District) and Ralph A Dunn Public Service award recipient – November 2, 2015
Jorge Ramirez
– President of the Chicago Federation of Labor – October 20, 2015
Cindi Canary
– "The Independent Map and Redistricting" – September 28, 2015
Wes Moore
 – SIU Distinguished Speakers series – September 23, 2015
Evelyn Sanguinetti
 – Illinois Lieutenant Governor – September 17, 2015
Loretta Swit (Star of M*A*S*H) & Jan Thompson
– "Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience" – September 14, 2015
Mike Brown
– Founder of The Brainzooming Group – July 21, 2015
Dr. Michio Kaku
– "The Future of the Mind" – April 22, 2015
David Axelrod
– "BELIEVER: My Forty Years in Politics" – The Morton Kenney Public Affairs Lecture series – April 13, 2015
Randall Balmer
– The John and Muriel Hayward Lecture – April 9, 2015
James Clyburn – U.S. congressman (D-South Carolina) and assistant Democratic leader – March 30, 2015
Felicia Norwood
– Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services – The Jeanne Hurley Simon Lecture – March 26, 2015
Wendy Davis
– Former Texas state senator – March 23, 2015 
Terri Bryant
– Illinois state representative (R-115th District) – March 16, 2015
Gloria Campos
– "Path to Politics, Illinois and the GOP: A Republican Latina Perspective" – February 26, 2015
Gary Shafer
– "Chicago in less than 2 hours: An Idea for Direct Commercial Flights from Southern Illinois" – February 24, 2015
Dr. Katherine Scott
– United States Senate assistant historian – February 17, 2015

2014

John Becker – USAID and SIU alumnus, United State Food Policy – November 18, 2014
Cody Sokolski 
– Champaign Illinois' One Main Development – Building a Creative Economy series – October 21, 2014
Dan Long 
– Executive director for the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability – October 16, 2014
Doug Whitley – Former president and CEO of Illinois Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for Transportation for Illinois Coalition – The State of the American Worker series – October 3, 2014
Dr. Ann Markusen 
– Director of the Arts Economy Initiative – Building a Creative Economy series – October 1, 2014
Sarita Gupta
 – Executive director of Jobs with Justice – The State of the American Worker series – September 25, 2014
Patti Simon and John Oldfield 
– "Tapped Out to The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act" – September 17, 2014
SIU Debate Team – "The Paul Simon Debate: A Showcase of SIU's National Champion Debaters – April 21, 2014
Dr. David Bositis – Vice president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies – April 14, 2014
Jim Edgar – Former Illinois Governor – April 7, 2014
Dr. Karl Kurtz – National Conference of State Legislators – April 7, 2014
Dr. Chris Mooney – Institute of Government and Public Affairs – April 7, 2014
Tony Mayville – 115th State Representative candidate – March 4, 2014
Bill Kilquist – 115th State Representative candidate – February 27, 2014
Jini Roby – Professor at Brigham Young University – February 26, 2014
Terri Bryant – 115th State Representative candidate – February 24, 2014
Robert "Bob" White – 115th State Representative candidate – February 20, 2014
Sylvia Puente – Executive director of Latino Policy Forum – January 27, 2014

2013

Jerry Costello – October 23, 2013
Dr. Christopher Koch – ISBE Director – October 22, 2013
Julia Rendleman – SIU alumna – October 3, 2013
Jerry Costello – Former U.S. senator – September 25, 2013
Alan Dixon – Author of A Gentleman from Illinois – September 24, 2013
Janice Jacobs – "Careers in Foreign Service and State Department" – September 23, 2013
David Shribman – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and editor – September 10, 2013
Toni Preckwinkle – President of the Cook County Board – April 24, 2013
Steve Casteel – Former director of intelligence for the DEA – April 18, 2013
Ben Campbell – SIU Debate Team's Public Speaking Workshop for Students – April 2, 2013
Cheri Bustos – United States representative (D-Illinois) – March 29, 2013
Allen LaPointe – Vice president of environmental quality, John G. Shedd Aquarium – March 28, 2013
Jerry Costello – Former U.S. congressman (D-Illinois) – March 19, 2013
Dr. Dianne Bystrom – Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center – February 25, 2013
Bill Stanhouse – Manager of the Southern Region Office of Regional Economic Development – February 12, 2013
John Tillman – CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute – February 5, 2013
Steve Schnorf – Senior budget and policy adviser to Governors Jim Edgar and George Ryan – January 29, 2013

2012

Toi Hutchinson – Illinois state senator (D-40th District) – November 8, 2012
Ralph Martire – Executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability – November 5, 2012
Jim Thompson – Former Illinois Governor – October 25, 2012
Carl Bruch – Senior attorney and co-director of International Programs – October 18, 2012
Glen Browder – Former U.S. representative (D-Alabama) –  September 6, 2012
Dr. Artemesia Stanberry – Assistant professor of political science at North Carolina Central University – September 6, 2012
Nancy Bocskor – "Go Fish: How to Catch and Keep Contributors" – April 19, 2012
Jonathan Shay – "Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming" – April 18, 2012
Bobbi Steele – First female chairperson of Cook County Board – April 13, 2012
Tom Johnson – "Illinois' Money Problems: Is There an End in Sight?" – April 4, 2012
Sheila Simon – "Civil Unions: What You Get and What You Don't" – April 3, 2012
Charlie Cook – "Forecasting the 2012 Elections" – March 26, 2012
Rupert Borgsmiller – "Assuring Fair Elections in Illinois" – March 6, 2012
Carolyn Smoot – "Perspectives of the First Female Circuit Judge in Williamson County" – February 21, 2012
Ryan Burge – "Religion's Role in the 2012 Election" – February 16, 2012
Nancy Sherman – "The Moral Cost of War: Shame, Guilt, and Self-Empathy" – February 15, 2012
Gloria Campos – "Winning the Women's Vote" – February 8, 2012

2011

Dan Long – Director of the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability – October 13, 2011
Stephen Katsinas – Director of the Education Policy Center – October 4, 2011
Dana Jay – Reporter for WSYX/WTTE – October 3, 2011
Terri Bryant – Illinois Republican Coalition Leader – September 29, 2011
Stephen Katsinas – Director of the Education Policy Center – September 21, 2011
Sheila Simon – Illinois lieutenant governor – September 19, 2011
John P. Andrews – Director of counterintelligence for U.S. Department of Homeland Security – September 19, 2011
Christine Todd Whitman – Former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – September 13, 2011
Bill Holland – Illinois auditor general – April 19, 2011
Justin Nichols – Mayor of Manitowoc, Wisconsin – April 9, 2011
Jehan Gordon – Illinois state representative – April 9, 2011
Terrance Gainer – U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms – March 28, 2011
Patricia Bellock – Illinois state representative – March 7, 2011
William Atwood – Executive director of the Illinois State Board of Investment – February 22, 2011
Ra Joy – Executive director at Arts Alliance Illinois – February 7, 2011
Eugene Trani – President emeritus of Virginia Commonwealth University – February 1, 2011

2010

Tom Logan – Founder of Marion Medical Mission – November 30, 2010                
Rick Pearson – Chicago Tribune political reporter – November 17, 2010
Leonard Gross – SIU law professor – November 15, 2010
Kayne Robinson – Former president of the National Rifle Association – November 15, 2010
Chris Boyster – Representative from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence – November 15, 2010
Jeffery Sedgwick – Former Assistant Attorney General under President Bush and Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst – November 8, 2010
David Luechtefeld – Illinois state senator (R-58th District) – November 9, 2010
John Bradley – Illinois state representative (D-117th District) – November 9, 2010
Dr. Tobin Grant – Aassociate professor in the SIU Department of Political Science – October 28, 2010
Tom Swoick – Executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association – October 26, 2010
Thomas Grey – Senior advisor to Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation – October 26, 2010
Janice Jacobs – Former ambassador and Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Consular Affairs – October 25, 2010
Dr. Sara Imhof – Concord Coalition – October 18, 2010
Dr. Scott Gilbert – SIU economics professor – October 18, 2010
Iris Martinez – First Latina Illinois state senator – October 6, 2010
Judge Phil Gilbert – September 28, 2010
Lilly Ledbetter – Fair pay pioneer and inspiration for Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – September 16, 2010
John Shimkus – U.S. congressman – September 16, 2010
Ethan Watters – Author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche – April 29, 2010
Tim Feldheim – April 23, 2010
Michael Dannenberg – U.S. Department of Education – April 22, 2010
Mike Boland – Illinois state representative and chair of Illinois House Higher Education Committee – April 22, 2010
Don Sevener – Deputy Director of External Relations, Illinois Board of Higher Education - April 22, 2010
Anne Neal – President of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni – April 22, 2010
Sandy Baum – Economics professor at Skidmore College and Senior Policy Analyst for The College Board – April 22, 2010
Phil Keene – April 16, 2010      
Richard Durbin – U.S. senator (D-Illinois) – April 7, 2010
Dr. Barbara Brown – March 21, 2010
Kenneth J. Gray – Former U.S representative – February 26, 2010
Fulton Armstrong – Foreign Relations Committee's Western Hemisphere specialist and former adviser to President Clinton – February 22, 2010
Glenn Poshard – SIU president – January 12, 2010

2009

Mary Flowers – Illinois state representative – November 30, 2009
Christine Radogno – Illinois Senate Minority Leader – November 8, 2009
Richard A. Baker – U.S. Senate Historian – October 23, 2009
Tom Johnson – October 20, 2009        
Thomas Patterson – American political and media scholar – October 14, 2009
Robert E. Hartley – Author, former newspaper editor, and Illinois political historian – October 5, 2009
Dejuan Kea – September 6, 2019            
John Cullerton – Illinois State Senate President – April 14, 2009
Howard Buffett – United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger, philanthropist, environmentalist, and humanitarian – April 9, 2009
Scott Simon – Peabody and Emmy award-winning broadcaster, commentator, and host of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” – April 4, 2009
Michael Mandelbaum – Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies – March 23, 2009
Cornel West – Author, professor of Religion at Princeton University, and director of the Afro-American Studies program – February 20, 2009
Joseph A. Saloom III – Former ambassador and director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office – January 29, 2009

2008

Doyle McManus – Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times – November 17, 2008
Lisa Madigan – Illinois Attorney General – October 21, 2008
Ted Sorensen – Special counsel, adviser, and speechwriter, to President John F. Kennedy – October 8, 2008
Harry Miller – Former associate vice president, SIU Carbondale – September 29, 2008
Rachel Jones – Journalist and media consultant – May 8, 2008
Ray LaHood – U.S. congressman (R-Illinois) – April 28, 2008
Dan Hynes – Illinois state comptroller – April 23, 2008
David E. Sanger – Chief Washington, D.C., correspondent of The New York Times – April 16, 2008
Desiree Rodgers – First African-American female president of the Peoples Energy Corp. – April 15, 2008
Alexi Giannoulias – Illinois state treasurer – April 6, 2008
Patrick J. Fitzgerald – U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois – March 27, 2008
Dr. Tieraona Low Dog – Director of the Arizona Center of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona – March 19, 2008
Wole Soyinka – 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate for literature – February 28, 2008
Ray Suarez – Senior correspondent of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer – February 26, 2008

2007

Morris Dees – Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center – November 6, 2007
Anne M. Burke – Illinois Supreme Court justice – October 17, 2007
Catherine Bertini – Former executive director of the United Nation's World Food Program – October 15, 2007
Jack Danforth – Former U.S. senator (R-MO) and U.S. ambassador to United Nations – October 10, 2007
Joan E. Higginbotham – NASA astronaut – October 4, 2017
Mike Glenn – Former NBA star and SIU alumnus – September 22, 2007
Christopher Gardner – CEO of Christopher Gardner International Holdings – August 23, 2007
Alan J. Dixon – Former U.S. senator (D-Illinois) – May 15, 2007
Bob Hartley – Author and historian – May 15, 2007
Maya Angelou – Poet, author, and civil rights leader – May 2, 2007
Ellen Soeteber – Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor – April 24, 2007
Bob Hillman – Former Dallas Morning News White House correspondent – April 24, 2007 
Al Balk – Author and former editor of the Columbia Journalism Review – April 24, 2007
Rick Kittles – Renowned geneticist and cancer researcher – April 12, 2007
Barbara Flynn Currie – Illinois state representative and House Majority Leader – April 2, 2007
Aaron Schock –  Illinois state representative – March 24, 2007
Lisa Madigan – Illinois Attorney General – March 24, 2007
Art Turner – Illinois state representative and House Deputy Majority Leader – February 19, 2007
Christine Todd Whitman – Former EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor – February 6, 2007
Ben Nelson – U.S. senator (D-Nebraska) and former Nebraska Governor – February 6, 2007
Jim Edgar – Former Illinois Governor – February 6, 2007

2006

Henry Bayer – Executive director of the Illinois AFSCME Council 31 – November 15, 2006
Gillian M. Sorensen – United Nations Foundation senior adviser – October 24, 2006
Andrew H. Card Jr. – Veteran of three White House Administrations – October 10, 2006
Philip Taubman – Washington, D.C., bureau chief of The New York Times – September 24, 2006
Paula Wolff – Recipient of the Ralph A. Dunn Public Service Award – September 18, 2006
Martin Luther King III – Civil rights leader – August 26-27, 2006
Tom Cross – Illinois House Republican Leader
Tom Daschle – Former U.S. senator (D-South Dakota)
Rodney Paige – Former U.S. Secretary of Education
Clarence Page – Nationally syndicated columnist
Ray LaHood  United States representative (R-Illinois)
Deanna Demuzio – Illinois state senator
Jackie Spinner – The Washington Post reporter
Earl Caldwell – Journalist
Ralph Martire – Executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

2005

Judy Shepard – Mother of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a 1998 hate crime
Janice Jacobs – Chair of visa services in the United States
Walter Rodgers – Former senior international correspondent for CNN and SIU alumnus
Mary Ann McMorrow – First female Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court
John C. Green – Director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics University of Akron
Jim Thebaut – Director of Running Dry, a documentary based on a book by Paul Simon
Don Cochran – Former assistant federal prosecutor
Jerry Mitchell – Investigative reporter with the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi
Thomas Friedman – The New York Times foreign affairs columnist and author
William Recktenwald – 2004 tsunami survivor and SIU professor
Art Simon – Founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World

2004

Stephen Lewis – United Nations Special Envoy to Africa on HIV/AIDS
Dan Balz – National political correspondent of The Washington Post
Mike Huckabee – Arkansas governor
Stanley Nelson – Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker
Dawn Clark Netsch – First woman elected to statewide office in Illinois
Jody Williams – Nobel Peace Prize laureate for an antilandmine campaign
Michael J. Madigan – Illinois state representative and Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
John Block – Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Dr. William Close – Internationally acclaimed physician and author
Dr. Joe Nye – Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
David YepsenDes Moines Register political columnist

2003

Judy Baar Topinka – Illinois state treasurer – October 23, 2003
Anthony Zinni – Retired U.S. general – October 21, 2003
Richard Goldstone – Justice of the South Africa Constitutional Court – October 13, 2003
Walter Cronkite – Legendary news anchor – October 9, 2003
Carol Channing – Tony-Award winning entertainer – October 2, 2003
Julie Nixon Eisenhower – Chair of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships – September 29, 2003
Howard Baker – U.S. ambassador to Japan and former U.S. Senator (R-TN) – August 29, 2003
Nancy Kassebaum Baker – Former U.S. senator (R-Kansas) – August 29, 2003
Bruce Laingen – Former U.S. ambassador and Iranian hostage – April 28, 2003
Autherine Lucy Foster – Civil rights pioneer – April 16, 2003
George McGovern – Former U.S. senator and 1972 presidential candidate – April 14, 2003
Ed Asner – Actor and social activist – April 1, 2003
William Perry – Former U.S. Secretary of Defense – March 31, 2003
Oliver "Buzz" Thomas – Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center – March 3, 2003
Charles Haynes – Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center – March 3, 2003

2002

Martin Marty – Renowned University of Chicago theologian – December 2, 2002
Clayton Yeutter – Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture – October 28, 2002
Richard Carmona – U.S. Surgeon General – October 27, 2002
Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general – September 22, 2002
David Dinkins – Former mayor of New York City – September 5, 2002
Mike Farrell – Actor and human rights activist – April 28, 2002
David Satcher – Former U.S. Surgeon General – April 7, 2002
William Hungate – Former U.S. congressman (D-Missouri) and a retired federal judge – March 17, 2002
Joe Tydings – Former U.S. senator (D-Maryland) – March 17, 2002
Jim Sasser – Former U.S. senator (D-Tennessee) – March 17, 2002
David Durenberger – Former U.S. Senator (R-Minnesota) – March 17, 2002
Henry Bellmon – Former U.S. senator (R-Oklahoma) and Oklahoma governor – March 17, 2002
Hank Brown – Former U.S. senator (R-Colorado) – March 17, 2002
Richard Brecht – Director of the National Foreign Language Center – March 17, 2002

2001

John Anderson – Former U.S. congressman and 1980 Presidential candidate – November 15, 2001
Coretta Scott King – Civil rights leader – November 8, 2011
Brian Mulroney – Former Canadian Prime Minister – November 1, 2011
Harry Mark Petrakis – Greek author – October 22, 2001
Karen Hasara – Former Illinois state senator – September 29, 2001
Kirk Dillard – Illinois state senator – September 29, 2001
Debbie Halvorson – Illinois state senator – September 29, 2001
Clarence Harmon – Former St. Louis mayor – September 29, 2001
Corinne Wood – Illinois Lieutenant Governor – September 29, 2001
Pete Seeger – Singer, songwriter, and activist – September 6, 2001
Romeo Dallaire – Retired Canadian Lieutenant-General – April 30, 2001
James A. Baker III – Former U.S. Secretary of State – April 24, 2001
Richard Riley – Former U.S. Secretary of Education – April 22, 2001
David Broder – The Washington Post columnist and reporter – March 29, 2001
Dick Gregory – Entertainer and activist – January 23, 2001 

2000

Eugene Lang – Founder of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation – December 10, 2000
Judy Baar Topinka – Illinois state treasurer – November 15, 2000
Don McHenry – Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations – November 2, 2000
Richard Durbin – U.S. senator (D-Illinois) – October 21, 2000
Barack Obama – Illinois state senator (D) – October 21, 2000
Lisa Madigan – Illinois state senator (D) – October 21, 2000
Juan Andrade Jr. – Hispanic leader – September 15, 2000
Gwendolyn Brooks – Illinois Poet Laureate – September 14, 2000
Thomas Patterson – Government professor at Harvard University - September 6, 2000
William Gray – President & CEO of The College Fund - April 28, 2000
Heather Booth – Founder of Citizen Action – April 25, 2000
Ron and Joan Engel – Social advocates – February 25, 2000
Bernard Rapoport – Chairman emeritus for the American Income Life Insurance Co. – February 7, 2000

1999

David Rawson – Former U.S. ambassador to Rwanda – November 17, 1999
Studs Terkel – Renowned author and historian – November 11, 1999
Carol Moseley Braun – Former U.S. senator and ambassador to New Zealand – November 4, 1999
C. Everett Koop – Former U.S. Surgeon General – October 20, 1999
Glenn Poshard – Former U.S. congressman (D-Illinois) – October 9, 1999
William Warfield – Grammy Award-winning singer – September 29, 1999
Wayne Owens – Former U.S. congressman (D-Nevada) – September 17, 1999
Fred Korematsu – Japanese-American civil rights leader – September 1, 1999
Michael Dukakis – Former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 presidential candidate – April 9, 1999
Tom Sawyer – U.S. congressman (D-Ohio) – March 26, 1999
Jesse White – Illinois Secretary of State – March 26, 1999
Barbara Bush – Former First Lady of the United States – March 26, 1999
Jack Kubik – Former Illinois state representative – March 25, 1999

1998

Dick Lugar – U.S. senator (R-Indiana) – December 7, 1998
Sherrod Brown – U.S. congressman (D-Ohio) – December 7, 1998
Eugene Carroll Jr. – Retired U.S. Navy admiral – December 6, 1998
Bette Bao Lord – Renowned author on China – December 6, 1998
Winston Lord – Former U.S. ambassador to China – December 6, 1998
Barbara Gottschalk – Executive vice president, Seeds for Peace – October 23, 1998
Lee Hamilton – U.S. congressman (D-Indiana) – October 23, 1998
Jim Edgar – Illinois governor – October 8, 1998
Dan Rostenkowski – Former U.S. congressman (D-Illinois) – September 22, 1998
Joe Hartzler – Assistant U.S. attorney in the Oklahoma City Bombing case – September 22, 1998
Webster Hubbell – Former U.S. deputy attorney general – September 22, 1998
Ken Hechler – Former U.S. congressman (D-West Virginia) and West Virginia Secretary of State – September 9, 1998
Dick DeSchutter – Vice-chairman of Monsanto – April 22, 1998
Robert Nye – U.S. congressman (R-Ohio) – April 15, 1998
Pat Robertson – Christian leader – March 25, 1998
Chief Shoneken – Spiritual leader from Lagos, Nigeria – March 25, 1998

1997

Hubert Humphrey III – Minnesota attorney general – October 20, 1997
Jim Ryan – Illinois attorney general – October 17, 1997
David Kessler – Former director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – October 6, 1997
Alan Simpson – Former U.S. senator (R-Wyoming) – May 22, 1997
David Pryor – Former U.S. senator (D-Arkansas) – May 22, 1997
Jack Danforth – Former U.S. senator (R-Missouri) – May 22, 1997