Long-serving U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) will donate his official Senate papers, records and materials to the University of Alabama upon his retirement.
Shelby, who in 2022 will have completed his sixth term in the upper chamber of Congress, proclaimed his honor in donating the archives to his alma mater.
“I am honored to donate my official papers, records, and materials to The University of Alabama once my season in Congress comes to an end,” stated Shelby. “I have been extremely fortunate to serve the people of Alabama for more than forty years and cannot think of a more appropriate place to house my official papers than my Alma Mater.”
He added, “I hope that these materials will facilitate academic research for scholars and students of law, history, policy, political science, and other fields, as I believe one of the most important investments we make is in our classrooms. Thank you to The University of Alabama for this gracious effort.”
Once the donation has been made, UA will utilize the records Shelby compiled over his decades’ worth of service for research and academic purposes.
UA system chancellor Finis St. John made the announcement at Friday’s University of Alabama System Board of Trustees institutional meeting.
“Senator Shelby has long provided unparalleled support to entities across the University of Alabama System, and it is impossible to overstate the great historical significance and lasting impact this donation will have on The University of Alabama,” said St. John. “We are grateful for Senator Shelby’s service to our state and for his decision to entrust us with his official materials. His legacy will be felt for generations to come.”
According to the university, the receipt of Shelby’s records will serve as a facilitator for UA to consider the establishment of a new institute and new academic, leadership, and scholarly research programs. The undertaking would provide students, faculty and staff with opportunities to engage with public policy leaders, pending UA System Board of Trustees’ official approval.
UA president Stuart Bell hailed the one-of-its-kind donation and indicated that it would serve to benefit the university for decades to come.
“The University of Alabama has long attracted and educated leaders for our state and nation,” said Bell. “With these materials, Senator Shelby will once again pave the way for the next generation of public servants. Provost Jim Dalton and I look forward to working with our faculty and students to develop the leading program of its kind, as the University continues its mission to drive the advancement of this state.”
Shelby, a fifth-generation Alabamian, is a graduate of UA’s undergraduate and law programs. Alabama’s longest-serving senator was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, where he has chaired the Appropriations, Rules, Banking, and Intelligence Committees.
The statesman served eight years in the Alabama Legislature and four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to his election to the U.S. Senate.
UA System Board of Trustees president pro tempore W. Stancil Starnes praised Shelby for his efforts in supporting advancements in higher education.
“As a longtime champion for research and education, it’s hard to imagine anyone who has made more of an impact on Alabama’s higher-ed landscape than Senator Shelby,” said Starnes. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we express our deepest gratitude to this true public servant for his generous gesture, which will greatly benefit countless scholars at The University of Alabama.”
The senator lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Dr. Annette N. Shelby, a former UA professor who holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Alabama.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL