Thursday afternoon, I had the opportunity to meet Senator George V. Voinovich, see the first phase of his digital web archive, and hear him speak very passionately about his time working in politics and public service. The Senator did a guest lecture in Dr. Burnier’s Interest Groups and American Politics course, answering questions posed by students in the class. I was surprised when the Senator shook the hand of each student in attendance, asking each one their names and asking where they were from.
Instead of giving a formal lecture to the class, the Senator opened it up to allow the students to ask their own questions. Many of them were very proper about the national debt issue, reforming the tax code, and the current shape of social security. Each of the Senator’s answers were intriguing and thoughtful stories from how he’s worked with these issues in his personal career. He said, “Sometimes the best way to make a point is to tell a story.” Working with former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Senator Voinovich has countless impressive stories to tell.
The accomplishments of any politician can be overwhelming to list, but when the Senator discussed his work with the Securing America’s Future Economy (SAFE) Commission Act that he introduced on the Senate Floor in 2006 and the “Fix the Debt” Campaign, it was great to see the students attentively listening and engaged in conversation. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience to hear Senator Voinovich speak so enthusiastically of his career.
After the class and a small reception, the Voinovich Collection digital archive was presented to numerous faculty and staff of the Ohio University’s Alden Library and the Voinovich School. The collection encompasses his impressive career in public service as Mayor of Cleveland, Governor of Ohio, and United States Senator. Both the Library and the Voinovich School helped with the digitalization of the collection along with Cleveland State University thanks to an Ohio University 1804 and SEED money from the Senator himself.
After the presentation, I took the opportunity to explore the collection for myself. The collection is an incredible tool and resource full of reports, correspondence, position papers, printed materials, and photographs from his long and impressive career. The digitalization of this collection will provide incredible benefits to researchers and students like me, who will now be able to greatly benefit from the Senator’s vast experience and knowledge.
To explore the Voinovich Collection digital archive, visit www.voinovichcollections.library.ohio.edu.