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Senator Voinovich Archive Meeting Main Image 610x250 pixels
Senator Voinovich discusses the archives with Ohio professors
Photo by Steven Turville

Senator Voinovich and Ohio Professors Visit Archives

Archival materials provide valuable resources for classes

Madison Koenig
September 27, 2013

George Voinovich took Ohio University professors with him on a walk down memory lane on Monday. Several professors from Ohio University and from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs joined the former Senator in Alden Library to discuss the Voinovich Collections Archives.

Voinovich, a 1958 graduate of Ohio University, had an impressive 45 year career in public service, including positions as Mayor of Cleveland from 1979-1989, Governor of Ohio from 1991-1998, and United States Senator from 1999-2010.  The Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections houses materials from his time as Governor and Senator. Items from Voinovich's days as the Mayor of Cleveland are held at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland.

Some of these materials include transcripts of the Senator's speeches, communications between his office and other offices or outside agencies, and memorabilia from his electoral campaigns.

Researchers from the Voinovich School have partnered with their colleagues at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University to begin digitizing some of the items in the archive. They provide digital exhibits and multimedia pieces with which users can interact.

During the meeting at Alden on Monday, professors discussed some of the ways in which they used this collection in their classrooms.

For example, Senator Voinovich was involved in building a park on Lake Erie. This park was originally a state park, but has recently been given to Cleveland Metro Parks. Harold Perkins, a Geography professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, teaches a course titled "The City and the Environment" and hopes to use archival materials about this process in his class.

Dr. DeLysa Burnier, the recently reappointed Voinovich Faculty Fellow, said that the collections are a vital part of several of her classes. In a class she teaches on interest groups, she has her students visit the archives and examine some of the Senator's mail. They look at the different groups that wrote to him about issues ranging from homeland security to the environment to the Great Lakes. When they return to class, they discuss these interest groups, as well as the groups that the Senator did not hear from, and how they might have influenced his take on the issues.

Professor Jason Jolley teaches a class on partnerships between the public and private sectors for students in the Masters in Public Administration program at the Voinovich School.  "The archives let students see how a partnership was built and developed," he said.

Senator Voinovich is glad to offer this resource to students, calling it "exciting" and noting that he wished he had something similar when he was a student.

You can visit the digital archives at www.voinovichcollections.library.ohio.edu.