David Yepsen Retirement | Paul Simon Public Policy Institute | SIU

Southern Illinois University



David Yepsen Retirement | Paul Simon Public Policy Institute | SIU

Institute Director Retiring Oct. 31, 2016

David Yepsen, director of the SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute since 2009, has announced his retirement at the end of October.

“David has brought significant visibility to the institute through guest speakers, public policy polls and his role as a political commentator for national media,” said Susan Ford, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The institute and university have benefitted from his expertise and leadership.”

Yepsen said “It was a hard decision. These past 7 years have a been a wonderful time in my life. It’s been rewarding to work with students and my colleagues here at the Institute and on campus. We’ve done a lot of good things and I think Paul would approve. I’ve also made a lot of friends here in Illinois.”  He added: “And there’s also never a dull moment in Illinois politics!”

Yepsen became director of the institute, which was established by former U.S. Senator Paul Simon in 1997, after a 34-year career as a political writer, editor and columnist for the Des Moines Register. The institute provides initiatives and research related to public policy, ethical conduct in government and the promotion of responsible citizenship.

Yepsen said, “There’s nothing more moving than getting a big hug or thank you from a student you’ve helped.  As a first-generation college student myself, it’s been rewarding to help others get their foot on that first rung of the ladder of success. 

“But I reach my full retirement age in October, a commuter marriage gets old and I still have writing projects and things on my “bucket list,” he said. “Since the annual meeting of the board of counselors is approaching, I wanted to allow plenty of time for the university to be thinking and making plans for the future direction and leadership.  A five month notice also gives me time to wrap up my tenure in an orderly fashion.”   

He said “these are difficult times at SIU and in Illinois and part of me feels like I’m leaving a ship I’m supposed to captain. But there are good, supportive administrators running SIU and great staffers here at the Institute and I’m confident the Institute’s future is a bright one. So, my life-membership in the Alumni Association is paid, I’ll continue to be a donor and I’ll be back to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Institute next year.”

Ford said she plans to consult with other university officials and the institute’s external board of counselors prior to launching a national search for Yepsen’s replacement.