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Glenn Poshard

Born: October 30, 1945 in Herald, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Poshard is a lifelong Illinoisan.

Biography: Glenn Poshard is an educator and former politician who served as an Illinois State Senator and U.S. Congressman, serving five terms in Congress from 1989 to 1999. He was also an Illinois gubernatorial candidate, and president of the Southern Illinois University system.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Son of Southern Illinois: Glenn Poshard’s Life in Politics and Education
ISBN: 0809339188 OCLC: 1375293106

Southern Illinois University Press 2023

A life of principles, service, and faith This first biography of Glenn Poshard traces the life of a young man who rose from rural poverty in Southern Illinois to become a United States congressman and president of the Southern Illinois University system. 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. Glenn Poshard’s efforts for the Wilderness Act designated Southern Illinois’s famous Garden of the Gods as a National Wilderness Preservation System, which continues to attract visitors from around the world. 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.