Campaign signs, newspaper clippings and countless photographs documenting Tom Ridge's career in politics from Congressman to Pennsylvania Governor to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. It's all now display in The Thomas J. and Michele Ridge Collection.
"I'm grateful that Mercyhurst University is willing to take all those documents and photographs and things, and make some sense out of this," said Ridge.
The Ridge Collection can be seen in the Hammermill Library. It's only fitting, since Tom himself laid the brick to that building.
Mercyhurst University President Dr. Thomas Gamble said they're excited to implement the collection into programs like the Intelligence Studies Institute and Applied Political Science.
"We're so proud to be selected," said Gamble. "It's quite an honor to have the Michele and Tom Ridge archive here. It'll be great for students and for scholars from all over the world."
Ridge said as special as this is for him, at the dedication ceremony he thought of, and thanked, the thousands who volunteered on his campaigns and worked on his staff. He said he wouldn't have had the career he did without them.
The former Secretary of Homeland Security also said he's hoping his archive will inspire others to take an interest in public service.
"I'd like to think that there may be some historians that are remotely interested in what did Ridge do with his life, and they'll see he did quite a bit fortunately," said Ridge. "[And] Maybe if some young man or woman, going to Mercyhurst or Gannon or Penn State Behrend, wherever, just happens to be curious enough to walk through and look at the records, and think about a career in public service."
Mercyhurst is still raising money to finance the entire collection. They've already met one fourth of their goal of $1,000,000.