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Media Contact: Jon Davis
Interim Director, IGPA

August 30, 2018

U of I System to present Obama with Douglas Award for Ethics in Government
Former president also will address students from three U of I universities

URBANA – The University of Illinois System will honor former President Barack Obama on Friday, Sept. 7, with the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, presented annually by the system’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) to recognize public officials who promote the highest standards of public service.

During his visit to the Urbana-Champaign university campus, Obama also will speak at 11 a.m. CDT at Foellinger Auditorium, a more than century-old landmark on the Main Quad. Tickets will be required for entry and are non-transferrable. A limited number of tickets will be made available to U of I System students, and the three universities will contact students directly with information about obtaining tickets. Tickets will not be made available to the general public, but Obama’s speech will be livestreamed at

“We are honored that President Obama will personally address our students,” said Tim Killeen, president of the U of I System. “And we are grateful to IGPA for bringing President Obama here, and giving his home state’s flagship University System an opportunity to recognize his dedicated service to our state and nation.”

Obama will accept the invitation of a national selection committee to receive the IGPA’s Douglas Award, which has been given annually since 1994 to public officials who have made significant contributions to the understanding and practice of ethical behavior in public service. It honors late Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas (1892-1976), who became known as the “conscience of the Senate” because of his deep commitment to high ethical standards while serving as a senator from 1949 to 1967.

“We are so pleased that President Obama has chosen to accept this award and share his unique insights directly with students from across the University of Illinois System,” said Jon S. Davis, interim director of IGPA.

Obama will be the 28th person to receive the Douglas Award, which has been presented to more than one person in some years. He joins a prestigious group of recipients that includes late Sen. John McCain, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and John Paul Stevens, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Olympia Snowe, Archibald Cox, and Representative John Lewis. More information about the Douglas Award can be found at

MEDIA NOTE: To apply for credentials to this limited-seating event, please go to to submit a request form by noon CDT on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Media will be notified by Wednesday, Sept. 5, of their credential acceptance. Due to space constraints, please note that not all requests can be accommodated. Coverage logistics will be provided upon confirmation.

A livestream will be available at