Vanderbilt University is set to become the permanent home of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s pre-Senate papers.
The senator and his wife, Honey, have announced that they plan to donate what amounts to some 600 cubic feet of materials to the university library’s Special Collections department. Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said in a statement Monday the university is honored by the donation, calling Alexander “one of our most accomplished graduates.”
“Lamar Alexander’s remarkable career will clearly be seen in the lens of history as one of the most important to Tennessee and the nation in recent times,” Zeppos said.
The former Tennessee governor and presidential candidate majored in Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt, where he was also editor of a student newspaper and ran track. This year is his graduating class’ 50th anniversary.
Alexander served two terms as governor. The collection will include correspondence, tapes, video, photographs and various memorabilia from the period, as well as papers on economic policy and other official items from the time.
During his first successful campaign for governor, Alexander famously walked across the state, setting a goal of shaking 1,000 hands a day. He is the only Tennessean to be popularly elected to both the governor’s office and the U.S. Senate.
“Honey and I felt that the archives should reflect the voices of the countless Tennesseans who have worked with us to raise educational standards, attract industry and build confidence among the state’s residents,” Alexander said. “To support this, Vanderbilt’s libraries have already begun an oral history project recording the stories of those who played major roles.”
“Come on along: Lamar Alexander’s Journey as Governor” is a museum-quality exhibit that runs from Sept. 17, 2011, to Aug. 12, 2012.