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U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan's Congressional Archives To Be Housed In UND Special Collections

Posted on 12/15/2010

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan and UND President Robert Kelley
U.S. Sen. Bryon Dorgan and UND President Robert Kelley share a moment after signing an agreement on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C.
The University of North Dakota will become the official repository of The Byron L. Dorgan Papers, a significant portion of all records documenting the longtime North Dakota Senator's national public service, as a result of a signing Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, between Sen. Dorgan and UND President Robert Kelley in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Dorgan and President Kelley signed an agreement that announces the Senator's "full and complete intention" to transfer writing and documents, from his 12 years (1981-1992) in the U.S. House of Representatives and 18 years (1992-2011) in the U.S. Senate, to UND's Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in the Chester Fritz Library.

The signing took place in Sen. Dorgan's office in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Subject to terms of a deposit agreement that will be negotiated by UND and the Senator, the Byron L. Dorgan Papers will be made available for public inspection, including use for scholarly, historical and archival purposes.

"We are deeply honored that the University of North Dakota, through the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in the Chester Fritz Library, will one day become the repository of Sen. Dorgan's Congressional papers, notes and writings," said UND President Robert Kelley. "We are very proud to claim Sen. Dorgan as one of our esteemed alumni, whose legacy of service to his alma mater, state and nation over 30 years, is nothing short of legendary. In the future, The Byron L. Dorgan Papers will rest alongside the writings of other North Dakota political giants, including Quentin Burdick, Usher Burdick, William Langer, Milton Young and William Lemke, for the benefit of public understanding and discourse."

The Byron L. Dorgan Papers also will join other important historical archives of local, national and international significance in the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections. The department already is home to the papers of famed American military commander Gen. George S. Patton, and renowned North Dakota poet Thomas McGrath and playwright Maxwell Anderson.

"Senator Byron Dorgan has been an important part of the national political landscape since joining the United States House of Representatives in 1981. This has continued since joining the United States Senate," said Curt Hanson, head of UND Special Collections. "He has always been a great servant for North Dakota, and the Department of Special Collections is honored to archive his service.

"The Senator's papers are a welcome and valuable addition to the many historical materials housed in Special Collections. Byron Dorgan's papers help to cement our standing as a preeminent archive in regard to North Dakota political history."

Sen. Dorgan, over the years, repeatedly has spoken fondly of his long association with UND, dating back to his years as an undergraduate when he stepped onto campus for the first time. He came from Regent, N.D., in the southwestern part of the state, with a high school graduating class that had fewer people than the number of students in one classroom at UND.

Sen. Dorgan graduated from UND in 1965, before going on to an illustrious 41-year public service career at the state and national level.

In 2002, the Senator was invited back to UND to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters Degree. It was then that he addressed other UND graduates, telling them that he was living proof that anything is possible if you think big enough.

"UND is a wonderful institution, and I treasured the time I spent [there]," he said, at the time, "It's been an honor and a privilege to stay so closely involved with the University since my graduation many years ago."

The agreement for UND to eventually house The Byron L. Dorgan Papers is the start of another chapter of the Senator's longstanding relationship with the University.

"As a UND graduate, I am enormously proud and grateful that this University has chosen to archive the 30 years of Congressional records and materials from my U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate offices," said U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. "Today marks the official start of that process as I work to close down my Senate offices in Washington, D.C., and in North Dakota in the coming two weeks. I'm thankful to the people of North Dakota for giving me the opportunity to serve them.

"Archiving the materials from my Congressional service will offer students and the general public the opportunity to have access to the papers, records and materials that reflect my 30 years of service in the United States Congress. I am proud that UND is interested in archiving these materials."

U.S. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan:

Sen. Dorgan became North Dakota's youngest-ever constitutional officer, at age 26, when he was appointed State Tax Commissioner in 1969. He is well-known for his advocacy on behalf of family farmers, seniors, veterans, American Indians and small businesses.

His Red River Valley Research Corridor initiative has created thousands of jobs in the state and has had a $1 billion impact on the region. The tremendous success of the Research Corridor has helped to curb outmigration and has contributed greatly to North Dakota's economic prosperity.

Currently, Senator Dorgan holds many influential positions in the U.S. Senate. He serves as Chairman of the Senate's Democratic Policy Committee; Committee on Indian Affairs; Energy and Water Development Subcommittee; and Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security. He is a senior member of the full Appropriations, Commerce and Energy Committees.

Senator Dorgan's rural upbringing is something he's very proud of. He grew up in the small southwestern North Dakota community of Regent, where his family worked in the farm equipment and petroleum business and raised cattle and horses.

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