LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has announced plans to donate his papers and memorabilia from his years in political life to Ouachita Baptist University, a Baptist school in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Huckabee, an OBU graduate and former member of the Ouachita board of trustees, will have served as governor for more than 10 years when he leaves office in January 2007. He will be the third-longest serving governor in Arkansas history and by far the longest-serving Republican governor.
“The decision to donate all of my papers and memorabilia to Ouachita was an easy one,” Huckabee said. “No institution has had more of an impact on my family and me than Ouachita has had. Ouachita was vital in helping me advance my faith, stimulate my intellect and shape my life.
“Ouachita challenged me to pursue excellence as a Christian and as a student. It challenged me to live a life of service to God and others. If I spent 10 lifetimes working fulltime, I could never repay Ouachita for its contributions to me and the thousands of others the school has served through the decades,” he said.
Andrew Westmoreland, president of Ouachita, attended the Dec. 3 announcement at the state capitol and said, “Gov. Huckabee’s terms in office have come at an unprecedented time in Arkansas history.
“He has led our state through difficult times in the aftermath of natural disasters and Sept. 11. He has aggressively engaged some of the most difficult issues we face today, from healthcare to education reform. His time in office is one that historians and political scientists will want to study. We’re pleased that Ouachita will be the site of this research.”
Westmoreland, who also teaches political science, said the Huckabee donation would join a growing collection of political papers housed at Ouachita. The first major collection was that of the late John L. McClellan, U.S. senator from Arkansas from 1943-77. Former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey also recently donated his official papers to Ouachita, and Rep. Mike Ross has announced his intention to do so.
Huckabee was only the fourth Republican elected to statewide office since Reconstruction when he became lieutenant governor in a special election in 1993. He was elected to a full term as lieutenant governor in 1994 and became one of the youngest governors in the country in 1996 when his predecessor resigned.
Huckabee is recognized as a national leader in education reform, serving as chairman-elect of the Education Commission of the States. Also a national figure in healthcare reform, his ARKids First program has been recognized nationally for providing health insurance to tens of thousands of children who previously had no access to health insurance. Historians will find discussion of a variety of other issues in which the governor has been proactive, including improvements in parks and tourism, technology and road construction.
Huckabee and his wife, Janet, were students together at Ouachita. Their daughter, Sarah, is a senior at Ouachita and serves as president of the student senate. One of her older brothers, John Mark, graduated from Ouachita in 2000.