CLU’s Gallegly Center undergoes Revision


Photo by Taylor Love-News Editor

The Gallegly Center in the library undergoes renovation in preparation for the new archival collection.

Taylor Love, News Editor

Editors Note: This article was originally written in December of 2021.The university’s Media Relations Manager Karin Grennan was emailed Feb. 3 and Feb. 7, 2022 regarding updates about the center and said that no changes have been made since the original interview in December.

On Nov. 23, 2021 California Lutheran University was served with a lawsuit from Former United States Representative Elton Gallegly over the usage of the Gallegly Center in the schools library. According to a press release from Gallegly, he alleges that Cal Lutheran promised to archive his papers, organize an internship program and have a series of speakers but has fallen short of that promise.

The Elton and Janice Gallegly Center is temporarily being remodeled in the Pearson Library to make room for the upcoming archival collection promised to Elton Gallegly in the contract negotiated with the university.

In an email interview Grennan said that the aforementioned center is being used for the reasons outlined in the original agreement with Gallegly.

“The space has, indeed, been used [as] outlined and as a study and collaboration area for students, faculty and staff, and we will continue to use it this way,” Grennan said. 

The Gallegly center officially opened in 2018, but was preceded by a fellowship program that launched five years prior in 2013. According to Grennan, the program is dedicated to preparing a new generation of leaders and to date there have been a total of 11 fellows. The fellowship provides students enrolled in the Masters of Public Policy and Administration program with scholarships and extensive learning opportunities at the local, state and national levels, said Grennan. 

“We have fulfilled that ‘intended purpose’ and look forward to continuing to do so in even stronger ways in the future,” Grennan said.

The center was part of a donation given by Gallegly himself. Vice President of University Advancement Regina Biddings-Muro said in an email interview how the donation process works at Cal Lutheran. According to Biddings-Muro, the advancement staff work with potential donors to see in what ways the charitable interests from said donors will best benefit the “mission of the university”.

“Once the prospective donor and university agree on mutual interests, the president and advancement staff typically negotiate mutually acceptable donation payment arrangements, terms and expectations for how the gift will be used,” Biddings-Muro said. 

According to the official gift agreement signed by both Gallegly and the former president of Cal Lutheran, the university agreed to accept correspondence, papers, notebooks, files, records, slides, awards, photographs and related materials from the archival collection. The collection was meant to demonstrate the 26 year long career in Congress of Gallegly. 

University President Lori Varlotta said the school has “fully executed” an agreement with a California based professional archival firm to archive all of Gallegly’s materials. 

“That archived collection will be available to students and other scholars starting early in the [upcoming] calendar year. We are very pleased that they will be able to access those materials from right here [in] the Gallegly Center for Public Service,” Varlotta said. 

This upcoming spring will see an introduction of the archived material to student scholars and faculty researchers around January, said Varlotta. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Leanne Neilson and other faculty members in accordance with library staff are working on the introduction. 

Jennette Bristol, public services coordinator for the library, declined to comment.

According to Varlotta, at the time of this article, the university is working with legal council to submit a response to the lawsuit.

“At this point we are defending ourselves,” Varlotta said.

The lawsuit caught the school by surprise, as many people had taken extensive steps to accommodate Gallegly and answer his questions and concerns, said Varlotta.

“While many of our buildings were in restricted mode we really worked graciously to support his requests and make ourselves available to the issues and the ideas he brought to our attention,” Varlotta said. 

Grennan said going forward that not only will the university continue to utilize the space, but that they anticipate using the space as a “robust research space” moving forward. If students wish to get involved with the Gallegly Center, and are interested in earning a Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration, Grennan encourages them to apply for the fellowship program.

The school maintains that they have currently met all the expectations presented to them in the agreement with Gallegly going into the lawsuit, and will continue to meet, as well as exceed, those expectations going forward.

“The university and our attorneys are confident that we have met all of [the] agreements,” Varlotta said.

For more information on how to apply to the Reagan-Gallegly Fellows program, visit