CHESTER – Former U.S. Representative and 1998 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Glenn Poshard has scheduled two book signings for his new biograpy written with journalist Carl Walworth.
Son of Southern Illinois, Glenn Poshard’s Life in Politics and Education, covers the entirety of Poshard’s life. Published by the SIU Press, the book moves through Poshard’s story beginning in rural poverty up to and including the Poshard Foundation For Abused Children.
The signings are from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 9 at the Chester Public Library, 733 State Street, and 11 a.m. to noon the same day at the DuQuoin Public Library, 28 S. Washington.
Copies of the book will be available at the signings. The price of $30 includes tax for paperback.
A partial list of topics Poshard faced that have relevance in 2023 are money in politics, faith in politics, mental health, rural/urban relationships, public service, higher education affordability, bipartisanship, the 1998 gubernatorial race, and regional leadership.
Poshard served more than four and a half years as a state senator and 10 years in Congress. He was the Democratic nominee for Illinois governor in 1998. He returned to his alma mater as vice chancellor for administration at SIU-Carbondale. In 2004 he was appointed to the SIU Board of Trustees and then was appointed president of the SIU system in 2005, serving until 2014.
A life of principles, service, and faith This profound portrait unveils a life and career dedicated to making higher education affordable and improving the quality of life for the community of Southern Illinois.
Beginning with his childhood in a two-room home near Herald, Illinois and the early, tragic loss of his sister, this biography navigates Poshard’s service in the military, his time as a state senator and United States congressman, his run for governor, his years at Southern Illinois University, and the establishment of the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children.
Intimacies of his personal life are disclosed, such as his struggles with and treatment for depression, his passion for education, and the lasting bonds he formed with his teachers.
His unpopular decision to refuse PAC donations is also highlighted, along with the work that went into sponsoring the Illinois Wilderness Act, and his relationship with civil rights activist John Lewis. Poshard’s path from poverty was riddled with hardship, but his perseverance and family values ultimately allowed for longstanding personal and civic growth.
From an admirable work ethic to a steadfast commitment to problem-solving, this biography illuminates the life and accomplishments of an impressive and generous leader.
“There is much to learn from Glenn’s life story and the varied ways he served Southern Illinois and beyond,” Walworth said. “The ongoing work Glenn and his wife Jo do for abused children is but one example that underlines their commitment to improve the world around them. Glenn is recognized most everywhere in Southern Illinois. I’m confident even readers who know him well will learn something new as well as deepen their understanding of an important leader.”
Poshard has been at the forefront of educational and economic development initiatives at the regional, state, and national level for more than five decades.
“I’ve been blessed by many opportunities to work for and with people in Southern Illinois. I learned strong values growing up in White County,” Poshard said. “I’ve had great teachers and mentors. I’ve benefited from excellent staffs. I hope that sharing this story will both contribute to the historical record of our region and be a resource that others use in positive ways.”
John Jackson, a political scientist who has followed Southern Illinois politics and higher education leadership for five-plus decades, is among those offering early praise. “Nobody represents the quintessential Horatio Alger great American success story better than Glenn Poshard, and nobody represented southern and central Illinois in the halls of power better than Poshard. From his birth and growing up in a hard-working blue-collar family in White County to a career in education and a second career in public service, progressing from southern Illinois to Springfield, and then Washington, and back to southern Illinois Poshard compiled a distinguished career in both fields.
“But it was not always easy or smooth,” Jackson said. “Walworth delves deeply into the challenges Poshard faced. The author is especially candid, often using Poshard’s own words, to describe in stark detail particularly the mental health problems Poshard faced and overcame.
Poshard reveals, in unprecedented detail for a prominent political leader, the price public officials sometimes pay to provide leadership and service. Very few, if any, biographies of prominent politicians are this candid, resulting in a unique and important political biography.”
Former Governor Jim Edgar said of Poshard: “Glenn Poshard has lived a remarkable life … His is an American story worth reading.” United States Senator Dick Durbin is among those who’ve had a front row seat to most of Poshard’s career.
“More than any person I know, Glenn Poshard has given a life of commitment to the families of Southern Illinois,” Durbin said. “The voters, even when they disagreed with him, knew he was an honest, caring man in a world desperately searching for public servants to believe in.”
The Poshard story shows why experiences throughout his life, including military service in Korea, forged a kinship between Poshard and at-risk children. His impact in that area is broadly recognized. “It is difficult to estimate the influence of Glenn’s life on vulnerable and ‘faceless’ children whose lives have been dignified and enriched through his vision, love, and service,” wrote Jini Roby, professor emeritus of social work at Brigham Young University. As an elected official, support for unions and fair wages was among Poshard’s calling cards.
“Glenn’s tireless dedication to working men and women and their unions has not wavered in the forty years I have known him,” said Edward M. Smith, president and CEO of Ullico.