Following her 10 years serving in Congress, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) will leave her collection of artifacts and papers from her time in office to be archived in a joint partnership with the nonpartisan Dirksen Congressional Center and Illinois College.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos being interviewed on Local 4 News. (photo: Caleb Sheil)

Bustos (who attended Illinois College) is also establishing the Callahan-Bustos Family Endowed Scholarship Fund through a gift to the college, which will provide scholarship funding to students pursuing work for the public good, according to a Tuesday release.

“As an alumna of Illinois College and longtime partner to the bipartisan Dirksen Congressional Center, I am proud that my work will benefit the students and scholars of both respected institutions,” said Bustos, 61, who is retiring after representing Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.

“And I am deeply honored to announce the Callahan-Bustos Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will support students who are studying to enter a field that serves the public good. It is my hope that both this archived collection and the scholarship continue to build on my legacy of bipartisanship and public service.”

Illinois College and The Dirksen Center will each hold separate elements of the Bustos Collection.

Illinois College is in Jacksonville, in the southwest part of the state, between Quincy and Springfield.

Illinois College will retain the Congresswoman’s physical artifacts for display and research, while The Dirksen Center will hold the physical and digital papers from her office for academic research. The two institutions have committed to an ongoing partnership beginning with the Bustos Collection, with research opportunities for faculty and students at Illinois College once the papers are processed and open for viewing. 

“We’re honored that Congresswoman Bustos has chosen The Dirksen Congressional Center to be the repository of her papers, extending to 90 years the unbroken legacy of bipartisan service chronicled in our collections,” Dirksen Center executive director Tiffany White said in Tuesday’s release.

The Dirksen Congressional Center is located in Pekin, Ill.

“From continuing the reputation for outstanding constituent service that’s a hallmark of west-central Illinois to her leadership role in Congress to her participation in some of the most consequential events of the past decade, Congresswoman Bustos’ papers will be a boon to scholars, journalists and everyday citizens looking to understand Congress.”

“Congresswoman Bustos is a member of the Illinois College Congressional Hall of Fame, which celebrates the many public servants on both sides of the aisle whose achievement was inspired in our classrooms,” Illinois College President Barbara Farley said.

“We are proud to have been chosen to hold part of the Bustos Collection and to partner with the Dirksen Center to open new collaborative and research opportunities for our faculty and students. The Congresswoman’s legacy of service will be carried forward, both in terms of the good work that will be generated by these collections and the scholarship opportunities she is providing at Illinois College.”

Bustos attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, but transferred in the early ’80s to complete her bachelor’s degree at University of Maryland, College Park.

Bustos attended Illinois College, but completed her bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1983 and her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. 

The Callahan-Bustos Family Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide financial assistance annually to an Illinois College student or students pursuing a field that serves the public good, such as education, nursing, agriculture, political science, communication, criminal justice or counseling.

Since 1973, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Dirksen Congressional Center has promoted research and scholarship to advance the public understanding of the U.S. Congress, its people and its policies. Located in Pekin, it holds the papers of its namesake, 1964 Civil Rights Act architect U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen, as well as those of House Minority Leader Bob Michel; U.S. Rep. and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; and Time magazine congressional correspondent Neil MacNeil.

Bustos was first elected to Congress in 2012 and has served five terms in the U.S. House.

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning that prepare students for meaningful lives of leadership and service. The college is in Jacksonville, west of Springfield, the state capital.

With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, Illinois College offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state. The college is home to the award-winning Khalaf al Habtoor Archives as well as the Paul Findley Congressional Office Museum.

Bustos will be succeeded in Congress next month by Democrat Eric Sorensen.