April 10, 2013
For Immediate Release
|Among those at the dedication of the Ron Lewis’ congressional papers were from left: Virginia Flanagan, special assistant to the president; Dr. Mary Wilgus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Joseph Owens, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Ron Lewis; Tony Young, mayor of Campbellsville; Eddie Rogers, Taylor County judge/executive; Congressman John Duncan, U.S. Representative for the 2nd District in Tennessee; John (Bam) Carney, Kentucky State Representative; Dr. Michael V. Carter; and John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)
By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – A process that has been five years in the making was completed Monday, April 8 with the dedication of the congressional papers of Ron Lewis (R-Ky.), former United States representative, in the archives at Campbellsville University’s Montgomery Library.
Lewis, who was called the “people’s representative,” presented Campbellsville University President Michael V. Carter with the door plate that was on Lewis’ door in Congress.
“I cannot tell you how much of an honor this is,” Lewis said, “when CU asked for my papers. It’s an honor, and I feel very privileged to have served the second congressional district.”
Lewis, who serves on the CU Board of Trustees, said he was honored his papers, which features some doodles from Lewis the artist, were at CU. “It was your voice, your office and your seat,” he told the audience. “It was hard work but a blessing.”
Lewis served as U.S. congressman from 1994 to 2009. Carter praised Lewis and said the holding of the papers was a first for Campbellsville University – the first time to house the papers of a former congressman or other ranking official.
“This is a significant and historical period of American history,” he said.
Dr. Glen Taul, CU’s archivist, said it had been a pleasure to work on the papers for the last five years. He said there were 87 boxes with over 1,000 folders in the collection.
Taul said the papers are a great asset to the university and to teachers who will make assignments to students and history will be learned. “The papers are very insightful and trace Lewis’ decision making process while in Congress,” he said. “They are a window into the thinking of the author,” Taul said.
He said Lewis’ efforts at saving Fort Knox from being closed and the tobacco buyout were two significant events during his tenure. The collection has copies of the House bills pertaining to the buyout and also many personal and political papers, legislative records, press and media collection, administrative files and other documents of the history of that period in Kentucky.
Taul presented Lewis with a finding aid for the papers.
Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young and Taylor County Judge-Executive Eddie Rogers presented Lewis with a proclamation that declared him an honorary Campbellsville citizen.
Good friend John Duncan, United States Congressman from the second district of Tennessee, praised Lewis for his leadership and called him “one of the finest men to ever serve in Congress.”
Duncan said Lewis almost immediately emerged as of the “most popular and kindest” congressional members.
He said Lewis was a “very active congressman” who came on almost every weekend and represented the district so well.
“Noah was a good man and walked with God. You can say that about Lewis,” Duncan said.
Carter, and other CU officials, accepted an acrylic painting done by Lewis of Mary and an infant Jesus.
Carter said Lewis has “always been there for CU” especially when the School of Nursing was begun. “He reflects the heart of CU,” he said.
Lewis secured $300,000 in federal funds for the nursing program; this was the allocation of funds that was used to leverage additional funding for the nursing program from other sources.
Later when Lewis was getting ready to retire, he provide $50,000 for the endowed nursing scholarship in memory of Mrs. Frances Clinkscales for whom a courtyard at the School of Nursing is named.
John “Bam” Carney, (R-Ky.), state representive, said Lewis has “been right there when we needed him.” He said he has served as the voice of Christian and private education.
United States Congressman Brett Guthrie, (R-Ky.), who serves as the second district’s representative, said he learned from his father that the true measure of a person is how they treat people who are not in a positive of authority.
He said two women who work in the cloak room always ask about Lewis, and Guthrie said that is a testament to his character.
Lewis praised CU for the honor of housing his papers, and also thanked several people in the audience including John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, who worked on Lewis’ staff for three years, and also Virginia Flanagan, who worked with him and U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).
Lewis said he misses the friends he made in Congress and the traveling he did in his district. “Thank you for your support. It takes a team; one person can’t do all the accomplishments.”
Lewis represented the second congressional district of Kentucky from 1994 to 2009. He was elected in a special election to fill the unexpired term of the late William H. Natcher.
While serving in Congress, Lewis was a member of many influential committees including agriculture, National Security, ways and means and government reform. He served a little more than seven terms.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.