March 9th, 2005



Volume 22, Issue 22

Daughter of late Sen. Paul Simon to visit UIS

By Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter

The daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon plans to visit UIS on March 28 to discuss her life in law and public service, from being born into a life of politics and law to her current responsibilities as a law professor and city council member.
In a speech scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 28 in the Brookens Auditorium, Sheila Simon will discuss issues of women in politics, with a particular focus on how her career has been influenced by the lives and careers of her father and her mother, Jeanne.
The speech, titled, “A Life in Illinois Politics and Law: A Daughter Carries Forward the Legacy of Jeanne and Paul Simon,” is being sponsored by the UIS Women’s Center and the Center for State Policy and Leadership. Lynn Otterson, director of the Women’s Center, said that the speaking event is part of the campus’ celebration of Women’s Heritage Month.
In a telephone interview with The Journal, Sheila Simon said that she was brought up under the assumption that she would probably end up being involved in politics or law in one way or another. She said that it would be difficult to compare her childhood with one that was not based on such an assumption because her parents were always involved with politics and law.
Currently a clinical assistant professor of law at the Southern Illinois University School of Law,

Sheila Simon, daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon, will visit the UIS campus March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Sheila Simon developed and supervised the SIU School of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic. She worked as an assistant state’s attorney for four years, as a staff attorney at Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance for five years, and as an attorney in private practice for three years.
In addition to working as a law professor, Sheila Simon is a member of the Carbondale City Council. She graduated from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in 1983 and received her law degree from Georgetown University in 1987. Sheila Simon and her husband, Perry Knop, have two daughters, Reilly and Brennan. She is also a member of “Loose Gravel,” a band local to Carbondale.
Sheila Simon said that she does not think she has filled the shoes of her parents yet. Considering that her father and mother both accomplished “a great deal” in their careers, Sheila Simon said that it is ok that she has not fully carried forward their legacy.
Paul Simon, who died on Dec. 9, 2003, served in the U.S. Senate from 1984 to 1997 and sought the Democratic presidential nomination during the 1988 campaign. Prior to being elected to the senate, he served as a U.S. representative, Illinois lieutenant governor, a state senator and a state representative.
UIS Public Relations Director Cheryl Peck told The Journal in January 2001 that Paul Simon taught at Sangamon State University, which became UIS in 1995, for a few years after losing the Democratic primary in the 1972 race for governor. While at SSU, Paul Simon founded the Public Affairs Reporting Program and co-founded the Illinois Issues magazine.
According to an article published in the SIUC Daily Egyptian on Feb. 21, 2000, Jeanne Hurley Simon was elected as a state representative in 1956 and was one of the first women to serve in the Illinois House of Representatives. She met Paul during her tenure as a representative, and the two became the first couple to marry while serving in the Illinois General Assembly.
Jeanne Simon was the chairwoman of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science when she died on Feb. 20, 2000, the Daily Egyptian article said. She helped her husband campaign for president in 1987 and 1988 and wrote a book, titled Codename: Scarlet, Life on the Campaign Trail by the Wife of a Presidential Candidate, a year later about her experiences with the campaign.
According to Otterson, Jeanne Simon had to step aside from her role as a state representative after having children, but she “never stopped working for the people.” Jeanne left a legacy of her own that has not been forgotten, but is sometimes overlooked in comparison to that of her husband. Otterson said it is also important to note that Sheila Simon will discuss carrying forward the legacies of both her father and her mother.
Otterson said that she decided to pursue Sheila Simon as a speaker for Women’s Heritage Month after remembering a visit to Capitol Hill. During her visit, Otterson noticed several 8-by-10 photographs of Sheila and Jeanne Simon and thought, “that would be an interesting way to grow up.” This thought, she said, went on to form the basis of the title of Sheila Simon’s upcoming speech.
Sheila Simon said that she is looking forward to visiting Springfield because the city “is where it’s at politically.” A regular visitor of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Sheila Simon said that she anticipates reconnecting with old friends and inspiring people she does not know when she speaks at UIS in almost three weeks.



Daughter of late Sen. Paul Simon to visit UIS






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