2:53 p.m., Feb. 21, 2011----During his four decades of distinguished public service to the state of Delaware, former U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.) was a frequent visitor to the University of Delaware campus.
On his most recent visit, Castle joined UD President Patrick Harker and Susan Brynteson, vice provost and May Morris Director of Libraries, during a signing ceremony held Thursday, Feb. 17, in the President's House to mark the official donation of Castle's Congressional papers to the UD Library.
The First State's 69th governor, from 1985-1992, Castle served in Congress from Jan. 3, 1993, to Jan. 3, 2011.
“I have made many, many visits to this campus, including any time there is a good football game, as well as for academic and public relations reasons and to help make sure that this great University is recognized for the excellence which it has,” Castle said. “I'm delighted to be here and to be honored in this way, in terms of the records of my time in Congress.”
Castle, who served on the education, labor and financial services committees during his 18 years in Congress, was greeted with a hearty round of applause from the 50 attendees when he thanked his wife Jane, a UD alumna, and former staff members who also attended the signing ceremony.
“Jane is my great support and has made a huge difference in my motivation to get things done, and I appreciate all that she does. She is great,” Castle said. “I have a lot of former staff members here and I would just like to thank each and every one of them.”
Castle noted that during his tenure as governor and in the U.S. House of Representatives, he was well served by staff members, of whom more than two-thirds were UD graduates.
“The University seemed to be the likely source of our new staff people,” Castle said. “We appreciate the great work that they did.”
In welcoming Castle to the signing ceremony, Harker thanked the former congressman for his long and close relationship with UD and said the papers will illuminate Castle's work on high profile committees and on policies to which he had an abiding commitment, including stem cell research.
“Our students and faculty, along with scholars from across the country, will be indebted to Congressman Castle for the unique insight these papers provide into U.S. policy development,” Harker said. “It is impossible to match the value of primary sources like these, and we couldn't be happier that his [Castle's] legacy will have a home here.”
The papers, which will be housed in the UD Library's Special Collections, mark a substantial addition to an already significant cache of important materials held there, and will enhance the University's reputation as a go-to resource for political scholarship, Harker said.
Brynteson said that that the newest collection of Congressional materials includes papers and records in multiple formats, including written, recorded, electronic, media and web pages.
“The UD Library has a strong commitment to the rich content of the papers and archives of elected officials,” Brynteson said. “Mike Castle's papers will join the Congressional papers of Delaware U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, and former U.S. Senators Ted Kaufman, John Williams and Allen Frear, among others, which are housed in the UD Library.”
Brynteson said the UD Library will process, organize and conserve the Congressman's papers, which will greatly contribute to future efforts of students and academic researchers.
“Over the years, Mike Castle's platform has been proven leadership, independent thinking, common sense solutions and bipartisan collaboration,” Brynteson said. “The UD Library is proud to be the home of Mike Castle's Congressional papers. On behalf of the UD Library, I thank you for your wonderful contribution to scholarship.”
A reception followed the signing ceremony.
Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson