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Sen. Richard Shelby to donate official papers after retirement

Alabama's senior U.S. senator, Richard Shelby, will donate his official papers and documents to...
Alabama's senior U.S. senator, Richard Shelby, will donate his official papers and documents to his alma mater at the end of his current and final term in office. (Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WSFA) - Sen. Richard Shelby has represented Alabama in Congress for decades, but with his career winding down, the question of where his official papers and records will be stored after his retirement is now known.

On Friday, the Republican lawmaker confirmed he’ll donate all the official papers covering his six terms in the U.S. Senate to the University of Alabama at the end of his current term.

“I have been extremely fortunate to serve the people of Alabama for more than 40 years and cannot think of a more appropriate place to house my official papers than my alma mater,” Shelby said.

Shelby said the documents will help with future academic research by scholars and law students, as well as those in other fields like history and political science.

“I believe one of the most important investments we make is in our classrooms,” he explained.

UA System Chancellor Finis St. John said Shelby’s donation will give the Capstone an opportunity to house one-of-a-kind historical records.

“Sen. 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 Sen. 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.”

The acquisition of this treasure trove of documents means UA will consider the creation of a new public policy institute and programs that, pending approval of The UA System Board of Trustees, would provide students, faculty and staff with opportunities to engage with prominent politicians and policy professionals.

Shelby, 87, is a fifth-generation Alabamian and a graduate of UA’s undergraduate and law programs. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 as a Democrat, but switch to the Republican Party in 1994. As Alabama’s longest-serving U.S. senator, Shelby has chaired four Senate committees including appropriations, rules, banking and intelligence.

Before serving in the Senate, Shelby was already a seasoned lawmaker having served Alabama for four terms in the U.S. House and eight years in the Alabama Legislature.

He and his wife, Dr. Annette N. Shelby, live in Tuscaloosa.

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