Contact: Meg Henderson
STARKVILLE, Miss.âThe G.V. âSonnyâ Montgomery Congressional Collection now is open to the public at Mississippi State.
On the Aug. 5 occasionâwhat would have been the former U.S. representativeâs 95th birthdayâthe university formally dedicated the collection in its Congressional and Political Research Center at Mitchell Memorial Library.
University officials said the collection includes more than 1,200 cubic feet of correspondence, memos, speeches, floor statements, photographs and memorabilia about the longtime public servant and MSU alumnus who died in 2006 at age 85.
The files cover the Meridian native from his time at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, through his student leadership at then-Mississippi State College to his World War II military service in Europe, where was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor. The collection also highlights his public service career that began with a decade in the Mississippi Legislature, followed by 30 years in Congress that concluded with retirement in 1997.
U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, Montgomeryâs 3rd District successor, joined with members of the Meridian-based Montgomery Foundation to help announce the collectionâs formal opening.
Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president, said âfrom his years as a Mississippi State student throughout his lifetime, Sonny Montgomery was considered a leader who worked tirelessly on behalf of those he served.â
Noting how the congressmanâs âleadership and people skills served him well throughout his career,â Gilbert also praised Montgomery for being âa devoted and loyal friend of Mississippi State and one who frequented the campus throughout his life and whose legacy can been seen throughout the campus.â
During his time in Washington, D.C., Montgomery gained an international reputation for his tireless work on behalf of American military veterans. In addition to visiting Vietnam repeatedly throughout the war and assisting in the return of prisoners of war, he most notably led in securing an extension of the G. I. Billâan effort that his colleagues renamed the âMontgomery G. I. Billâ in tribute.
Additionally, the collection illustrates the close friendship between Montgomery and former President George H.W. Bush. The two met on their first day in Congress in 1967 and remained friends for the remainder of the congressmanâs life.
In his remarks, Harper praised Montgomery for serving the district and nation âwith integrity, compassion and hard work.
âHis efforts on behalf of our countryâs veterans and the people of Mississippi are still realized today, and we are eternally grateful,â Harper said.
âSonny loved Mississippi State University, and I know that he would be proud of the new G.V. âSonnyâ Montgomery Collection,â he continued. âI hope that this collection will be a reminder of Sonnyâs esteemed public service for generations to come.â
The Congressional and Political Research Center is open 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, visit http://library.msstate.edu/cprc/index.asp.
For more on the Mississippi State University Libraries, see www.library.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippiâs flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu.
The Drill at Mississippi State has been rescheduled for Aug. 24 from 5-6 p.m.
Students are invited to join the Student Association on the university's historic Drill Field next week as the 2015-16 academic year at Mississippi State is celebrated.
The university's annual welcome back pep rally will feature guest speakers including MSU President Mark E. Keenum, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and Men's Head Basketball Coach Ben Howland. The Famous Maroon Band, Spirit Groups, Bully, and Miss MSU Randi Kathryn Harmon also will be making appearances.
Free t-shirts and MSU ice cream will be available, and attendees can participate in the traditional signing of the MSU Creed.