David Yepsen Director's Award

Main Content

David YepsenThe David Yepsen Director's Award was established by Herb and Carolyn Donow and other donors to honor David Yepsen, former director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Through the generosity of local supporters Herb and Carolyn Donow, the David Yepsen Director's Award was created and endowed prior to Yepsen’s retirement from the Institute.

This endowment formalizes one of Yepsen’s first initiatives as director. He created a $1,000 annual award for one outstanding Institute-affiliated student each year with the recipient chosen by the director. No application is needed as all Institute student employees, interns, and ambassadors are considered for this scholarship opportunity.

The Donows, both of whom hold doctoral degrees, believe it is important for students to learn civic duty and have opportunities like those provided at the Institute to increase their knowledge of and opportunities in public engagement. The Donows also wish for this award to honor David Yepsen’s seven years of service and significant contribution to the public image and profile of the Institute and SIU.


The student must be enrolled at SIU Carbondale as an undergraduate or graduate student and in good academic standing. Eligible students should have demonstrated active participation in the operation of the Institute, execution of Institute programs, or contribution to the Institute’s activities or work products. Those eligible will hold an affiliation with the Institute, which includes, but is not limited to: student employees; Institute ambassadors; any student in any Institute internship, fellowship, or externship; students otherwise contributing to an Institute project or program.


The award may be used for tuition, housing, books, and other expenses related to education or research, including travel. Institute staff will review the merits of each student involved in the Institute and will make individual recommendations to the Institute director, who will have the final decision on the award recipient.

Application Process

  • No application required
  • Recipient is announced in the spring

About David Yepsen

David Yepsen became director of the Institute on April 1, 2009, and retired on October 31, 2016. Previously, he had a 34-year career with the Des Moines Register, serving as the paper's chief political writer, political editor, and political columnist. He is a native of Jefferson, Iowa, and is a 1972 graduate of the University of Iowa. He earned a Master's of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Drake University in 1985. In 1989, he was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2008, he was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard where he led a study group on the nation's presidential selection processes. In his book about the 1988 presidential race, the late Senator Paul Simon praised Yepsen's objectivity. "Every four years the chief political reporter for the Des Moines Register becomes the most important reporter in the nation," he said. "It is a position that could cause vanity and abuse. To his credit, David Yepsen handled this position with sensitivity and balance. And he worked hard."