David Yepsen Director's Award

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Yepsen Award

Just prior to David Yepsen’s retirement from the institute, through the generosity of local supporters Herb and Carolyn Donow, the David Yepsen Director’s Award was created and endowed.

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 Yepsen Award will be made to an SIU Carbondale, institute-affiliated student in good standing in recognition of his or her assistance with the operation of the institute, execution of institute programs, or contribution to the institute’s activities or work products. Institute-affiliated students include, but are 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, other expenses related to education or research, including travel.

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 that this award honor David Yepsen’s seven years of service and significant contribution to the public image and profile of the institute and SIU.

David Yepsen became director of the Institute on April 1, 2009, and retired on Oct.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. In 1985 he earned a Master's of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Drake University. 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 Sen. 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."