Gene Callahan Internship

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The Gene Callahan Internship was renamed by Jerry Mileur in early 2015 to honor the late Gene Callahan, who passed in August 2014. (Press Release - January 2015)

Gene Callahan was born in Milford, Ill., the last of four children, and grew up on his family's hog farm outside the small town near the Indiana border. His father was a Democratic Party county official in heavily Republican Iroquois County and served in the Illinois House. Callahan graduated in 1955 from Illinois College in Jacksonville, where he majored in English. Then served two years in the U.S. Army.

For over 40 years, Gene Callahan worked in the political arena, first as a journalist with the Illinois State Register (Springfield) from 1957 to 1967, then as assistant press secretary for Gov. Sam Shapiro, and Lt. Gov. Paul Simon's press secretary until 1972. In 1974 he began his long association with Alan Dixon, when Dixon served as Illinois State Treasurer, and then as Illinois Secretary of State. When Dixon moved to the U.S. Senate in 1981, Callahan became his chief of staff and most trusted political advisor. After Dixon lost a reelection bid to Carol Mosley Braun in 1992, Callahan worked for several years as the chief lobbyist for Major League Baseball, fighting to preserve its exemption from the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Jerry Mileur was a southern Illinois native who held two degrees from SIU Carbondale. A lifelong educator with a passion for teaching, politics, and baseball, Jerry retired as chairman of the political science department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also owned a minor league baseball team for many years. Jerry served on the Board of Counselors for the Paul Simon Institute and was an author of books on the St. Louis Cardinals. He also endowed the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series at SIU. Mileur passed away in September of 2017. 

Internship Program
The Gene Callahan Internship will send at least one SIU student each spring to Springfield, IL to gain experience working in state government. Placement will focus on working with members of the state legislature, statewide offices or state executive agencies.

Students from all academic backgrounds who have reached junior status (completed at least 56 hours of coursework). Priority will be given to students majoring in political science, history, and journalism. Applicants must also provide two letters of recommendation along with the application.

The internship will require the student to live in Springfield during the spring semester. Maintaining student status during the internship is also required. Interns will receive a stipend to help cover housing and travel expenses and other needs.

Application Process
To apply, please fill out our Student Opportunities Application.
You may bring the application to the Institute or submit your application via email to