ARKADELPHIA — U.S. Congressman Mike Ross presented his official papers and related material from his political career to Ouachita Baptist University during a Dec. 7 press conference on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.
Congressman Ross, who has served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, did not seek reelection this year. He is returning to the private sector after his current term concludes on Jan. 3, 2013.
Noting that he had the opportunity to serve in Congress during “a very historic time,” he cited such major issues and events during his congressional tenure as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, health care reform and economic recession.
He said his donation to Ouachita will include just over 200 boxes of material, approximately 16,000 digital photos and an estimated 300 gigabytes of data files.
Ouachita President Rex Horne accepted Congressman Ross’ papers and related files on behalf of the university, with both men signing an agreement to house the papers in the archives of Ouachita’s Riley-Hickingbotham Library Special Collections. Riley-Hickingbotham also houses the political papers of Sen. John L. McClellan, Congressman Jay Dickey and Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The agreement specifies that Congressman Ross’ materials presented to the archives will be “arranged, preserved and protected with the same care and in the same manner accorded its other collections.” Once the materials are processed, the resources will be “made available to students, scholars and other qualified researchers who wish to use them for research or educational purposes.”
“Congressman Ross is donating his papers of years and years of public service to Ouachita and to those who will come and study in the years to come,” Dr. Horne announced. “I appreciate the great service that he has rendered to our state and to our country. He has done so in an admirable way.
“We come today to show appreciation for Congressman Ross and for his service to us and to our country,” he added. “We come today, in a very real sense, receiving an honor that he has counted us worthy to add his papers to our great archives collection. It is something that is given that can be studied, something that can be admired, something that tells us in years to come about this man, a public servant, about the times in which he lived, about the crucial issues that were faced and the impact that he has had. These are things that can be studied by generations to come.”
Congressman Ross said he is “proud to announce that Ouachita Baptist University will receive all of my congressional, state Senate and campaign papers to archive. I’m extremely excited to embark on this joint partnership with OBU. This is an extra special moment for my family because my wife, Holly, is a graduate of Ouachita and I’m so happy that we can both be part of such an amazing university.
“I decided to donate my documents to OBU because I felt that this material needed to stay in Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District,” Congressman Ross said. “Additionally, OBU has a wealth of political archives that lend themselves to compelling study and research opportunities. I’m pleased that I can contribute to the dedicated folks at OBU and help continue making the university a statewide destination for the study of political science.”
Ouachita Baptist University, a private liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, Ark., has served since 1886 as a Christ-centered learning community. With a current enrollment of 1,532 students, Ouachita is educating students from 29 states and more than 30 nations.