Paul Simon H’01, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College in May of 2001, died on December 9, 2003, in Springfield, Illinois.
Born on November 29, 1928, in Eugene, OR, he attended the University of Oregon and Dana College in Blair, NE. At the age of 19, he became the editor-publisher of the Troy Tribune in Troy, IL, and built a chain of 13 newspapers in southern and central Illinois, which he sold in 1966 to devote full-time to public service and writing. He served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953 and was assigned to the Counter-Intelligence Corps as a special agent along the Iron Curtain in Europe. He was elected to the Illinois House in 1954 and to the Illinois Senate in 1962. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and to the U.S. Senate in 1984, from which he retired in 1997. He then taught at Southern Illinois University and ran the Public Policy Institute, which he founded on a bipartisan basis. He received more than 50 honorary degrees and was the author of many books, including P.S.: The Autobiography of Paul Simon (1998) and How to Get into Politics – and Why (with Michael Dukakis) (2000). He was married in 1960 to Jeanne Hurley, who died in 2000, and was married again in 2001 to Patricia Derge, who survives him, as do two children, Sheila Simon and Martin Simon; a stepdaughter, Jennie Derge; and six grandchildren.