Lindenwood University has established a new political science award to honor former Illinois State Senator and GOP Minority Leader Frank Watson. The Frank Watson Political Science Award will be presented to a student from Lindenwood University-Belleville annually at the university’s Honors Convocation.
“We are delighted to recognize Mr. Watson for the leadership he has shown, and his commitment to the residents of Illinois,” said Dr. Jerry Bladdick, president of the Lindenwood University-Belleville campus. “The ‘Political Science Award’ named for Mr. Watson, will be given to a Lindenwood University-Belleville student that demonstrates the same outstanding leadership and public service commitment that Mr. Watson has shown over the years. It will be an honor for a Lindenwood student to receive this award.”
From Greenville, Ill., Watson served in the Illinois State Senate from 1983 to 2009, the final six years of which he served as Senate Republican leader. He also served as assistant majority leader from 1993 to 2003. Prior to his time in the senate, Watson served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1979 to 1983.
With an extensive list of legislative accomplishments, Watson was a longtime champion of education, repeatedly pushing for increases in education funding and fighting for the creation of new and expanded programs, including helping to create the state’s college tuition savings programs and the sponsorship of Chicago School Reform and other measures, such as the School Construction Grant program, to improve the quality of public education in Illinois.
“I don’t care where you live or where you’re from,” Watson said in a speech in 2003, “every child in this state ought to have the same opportunity for an equal chance at a quality education.”