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Lebanon Valley College to Archive Governor Corbett Papers

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his wife First Lady Susan Corbett

As Pennsylvania’s 46th Governor, Tom Corbett led efforts to boost business and natural gas production, reduce government spending, and fund highway and bridge improvements. As the state’s Attorney General, he fought fraud, online child predators, elder abuse, illegal drugs, and corruption within the state legislature. This service on behalf of Pennsylvanians, along with his work as U.S. Attorney and a private attorney, has produced volumes of documentation. Soon, the Governor’s collected papers will become part of the archives at Lebanon Valley College. The Governor Tom Corbett Collection will be housed at the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library and made available to the public after the papers are catalogued and summarized.

“The skills I learned from the faculty and my classmates at Lebanon Valley challenged me and prepared me for a fulfilling career of public service. My alma mater gave me an education that is unquestionably one of the best in the country,” said Governor Corbett.

Dr. Diane Johnson, associate professor of politics at Lebanon Valley College, believes the papers will offer a “treasure trove” of materials to students and faculty. “The documents promise to be a great resource for researchers who have a specific interest in Tom Corbett or Pennsylvania politics, history, and law, as well as those in the field of gubernatorial studies more broadly,” said Johnson. “There is surprisingly little published academic literature on modern Pennsylvania politics.”

“This is an important collection,” said Dr. James Broussard, professor of history at Lebanon Valley College and director of the College’s Center for Political History. The center brings guest scholars to campus and provides resources for professors, students, scholars, and high school teachers to keep up with the changing interpretations of political history. Lebanon Valley College students will assist in organizing, calendaring, preserving, and summarizing the papers. “Having the papers here fits naturally with the center’s goal of offering immersive experiences for students,” said Broussard.

Governor Corbett graduated from Lebanon Valley College in 1971 with a degree in political science. First Lady Susan Manbeck Corbett graduated with a degree in English in 1972. Her career focused on nonprofit management at Carnegie Museums and Library, Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, and the Gettysburg Foundation. As First Lady, she served as an advocate for Pennsylvania’s vast heritage and cultural, artistic, and natural resources. Her primary initiative was Opening Doors, a partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and Dr. Robert Balfanz at Johns Hopkins University. A key component of the initiative was the development and implementation of PDE’s Early Warning System, an intervention software program that assists educators in reducing the high school dropout rate. Materials from Mrs. Corbett’s career will also be included in the collection.

“Tom and I are pleased to share these documents with Lebanon Valley College,” said First Lady Corbett.  “We believe they will provide insight into the challenges and decision-making processes that all governors face. Ultimately, we hope that our experiences in law, government, and nonprofit management will encourage students to consider careers in public service.”

President Lewis E. Thayne expressed his appreciation to the Corbetts. “Tom and Susan met on our campus and went on to become among the most prominent Pennsylvanians of our time. They have had interesting careers and experiences. We are glad they chose to share these historically significant records and will ensure the collection is preserved as a vital educational resource.”