CU Accepts Congressional Papers of Ron Lewis

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University accepted the congressional papers of Dr. Ron Lewis, R-Ky., who is retiring in January 2009, in an announcement at the Chowning Executive Dining Room Dec. 5.

Lewis, who has served as United States representative for the Second District of Kentucky for 14 and a half years, said it was an honor for CU to want his papers. He said it had been an “honor and a privilege” to serve his constituents.

Lewis said, “I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to share my papers with you.”

He said he uses Campbellsville as a “poster child” pertaining to how Campbellsville “came back” after Fruit of the Loom closed. He said Campbellsville was on the “edge of losing it all,” and Campbellsville had a new life, new hope and new opportunity to succeed.

He said Campbellsville University’s Technology Training Center retained workers, and he is proud of that. Over 8,000 people have been trained at the center.

He said one of the regrets he has is not having the Kentucky Heartland Parkway having been constructed during his tenure.

He said, although he is retiring, he would be glad to “put in a good word” to his friends in government for Campbellsville and Campbellsville University.

He praised Phyllis Causey, his field representative who has served with him since his early days in political life and who was “always here, willing to help and shared your concerns with me immediately.”

He also praised his chief of staff, Daniel London, a CU graduate, as a “fine, honorable man who’s done a great job” in the 11 years he’s served with him.

Lewis received an honorary doctorate in public service from Campbellsville University in May 2004.

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, said the university values the friendship between Lewis and the university. He said, “We feel deeply honored to recognize you and say thank you for what you’ve done for CU. You always sought our best interest, and you served with integrity and dignity.”

John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, said he had known Lewis since 1993 when he ran for Congress and they met and became fast friends.

Chowning said Lewis’ eight terms have earned him the honor of serving on the effective and powerful House Ways and Means Committee and the Tax Policy Committee.

Chowning said when Fruit of the Loom closed Lewis went to Congress and got $8.5 million earmarked for Ky. Highway 210. “If we had not had that road widened, we would not have secured in Campbellsville,” Chowning said.

“Because of the congressman, people in the Second Congressional District were challenged to ‘think outside the box,’” Chowning said.

He said, without Lewis’ support, there would not have been a better life in Campbellsville. “People said there was no future in Campbellsville,” Chowning said, “and the best thing would be for the workers to go and work elsewhere.

“But, Rep. Lewis freed up some funds, and there is now a better way and life with his influence.”

Chowning praised Lewis for his Christian leadership including his service as a Baptist minister and Christian bookstore owner. Chowning worked on Lewis’ staff previously.

Dr. John Burch, director of library services at CU, said he and his staff appreciated the “challenge” of working with Lewis’ papers.

“Your papers will allow our students to see how Congress works and to see the nuts and bolts of what is done in Congress,” Burch said. He also said his student employees, including Nathan Cox, a political science major of Tennessee, are learning how to handle and preserve archival papers.

“Thank you for the trust you have placed in us,” he told Lewis.

Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said, “From our faculty, your faith and support in CU is truly appreciated. Your papers enhance our library holdings, and we appreciate your support.”

Cheatham invited Lewis to teach classes at CU.

Campbellsville Mayor Brenda Allen and Taylor County Judge-Executive Eddie Rogers also praised Lewis for his help. They said Lewis had “stepped up to the plate” when Campbellsville was down after Fruit of the Loom left and also in other ways.

Chowning presented Lewis with a book from local historian, Betty Jane Gorin-Smith, that she’s written titled “Morgan is Coming!: Confederate Raiders in the Heartland of Kentucky.”

For more information about the papers, contact Chowning at (270) 789-5520 or

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.

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