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NDUS Home  |  News  |  Campus Happenings


Former U.S. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan visits UND to talk about his 'Byron L. Dorgan Papers' and other important topics

Posted on 4/5/2011

Byron Dorgan
Former U.S. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan
Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan was on the University of North Dakota campus Thursday, March 31, to announce with UND President Robert Kelley that the movement of the collection of papers and records of Dorgan's 30 years in the Congress has now been completed.

UND was designated by Sen. Dorgan as the repository for the papers and records of his three decades served in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. More than 1,700 boxes of records have now been received by the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in the Chester Fritz Library which will categorize and be the repository for those records. The Chester Fritz collection also includes the congressional records of Sen. Quentin Burdick and Sen. Milton Young among others.

In December 2010, UND and Sen. Dorgan launched a Memorandum of Understanding that, at some point in the future, it is his intent to deposit hundreds of boxes of material, documents and writings to the UND Department of Special Collections.

"We are deeply honored that the University of North Dakota, through the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in the Chester Fritz Library, is 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.

Dorgan, who received his undergraduate degree from UND, said he's enormously proud of his service in Congress and he's pleased that UND has agreed to be the repository for his official papers.

"It's a great honor for me to have my Alma mater maintain the official records from my Congressional career," Sen. Dorgan said.

Dorgan was on campus Thursday for another purpose as well. He is doing guest lectures at a number of university classes in his role as Distinguished Visiting Professor. Also, while in Grand Forks, Sen. Dorgan attended a meeting of the Red River Valley Research Corridor, which he created while he served in the Senate.

Dorgan said that he's also keeping busy in other areas of his life outside of the Senate. He's affiliated with a bipartisan think-tank doing energy work, a Senior Adviser to a law firm, he's a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, and has a contract to write two more books.

In addition, he has created a new program called the Center for Native American Youth, which works with American Indian children on issues such as teen suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention and more.

"I'm keeping very busy with a wide variety of things I enjoy doing and which I believe will continue to contribute to the public good," Dorgan said.

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 out-migration and has contributed greatly to North Dakota's economic prosperity.

Sen. Dorgan held many influential positions in the U.S. Senate. He served 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 also was 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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