Byrd Center Renamed, Refocused

(THE PICKET) – The Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on the Campus of Shepherd University is undergoing a revitalization this semester.

The Byrd Center is getting a new name, the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education, along with a new logo in an effort to capture the new mission of the Congressional Education Foundation, the organization behind the center.

“As we prepare for the Centennial of Senator Byrd’s birth in November 2017, we are planning a variety of programs, events and research projects designed to promote a better understanding of Congress and the legislative process,” CEF chairman Joe Stewart said in a press release. He noted that next year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the West Virginia senator for whom the Center is named. Stewart also mentioned plans to “engage in educational outreach designed to address the fact that the history of Congress and its role in American government is not very well understood by most Americans.”

Raymond W. Smock, former historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and director of the Byrd Center, said in a statement that the Center will continue its devotion to congressional history, and will also “place a greater emphasis on programs for teachers, students, congressional staffers, and others who want to learn about Congress in its broad context of representative democracy over more than two centuries.”

In addition to Smock, the Byrd Center’s board includes former U.S. Senate historian Donald A. Ritchie, Richard A. Baker, another former Senate historian, James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, and Jay Wyatt, current president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.

Mike Morris is a staff writer for The Picket and can be reached at

+ posts