Second Husky tapped by the White House

Northeastern University alumnus David S. Ferriero, ’72, MA’76, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the position of Archivist of the United States. Currently serving as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries, Ferriero received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature from Northeastern.

Upon the Senate’s confirmation, Ferriero, a Beverly, Massachusetts native, will become the tenth archivist since President Franklin Roosevelt established the National Archives, the nation’s largest record keeper, in 1934. As Archivist of the United States, Ferriero would oversee the maintenance and management of public records and be responsible for releasing government documents, including presidential papers.

He is the second Northeastern alumnus to be tapped for a position in the Obama administration. In May, Winslow Sargeant, ’86, was nominated for the position of chief counsel for advocacy in the Small Business Administration.

Like many Northeastern students whose ultimate career interests are inspired by their co-op experiences, Ferriero took his first career step by accepting the seemingly unexciting co-op position as a junior library assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries in 1965.

Ferriero interrupted his Northeastern education to join the U.S. Navy and was deployed to Vietnam. He returned to Northeastern from the war a different student.

“I was much more focused at that point,” Ferriero said in a 2005 interview with the Northeastern alumni magazine. “When I came back and became a liberal arts major, that’s when I took courses in the English department and really liked what I saw.”

A love for the intellectual world of libraries was born. He landed a library position at MIT, and after 31 years there, Ferriero moved on to Duke University, where he served for several years as the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs. In 2004, he was tapped as chief executive of the New York Public Libraries Research Libraries, followed by his appointment as the Andrew W. Mellon Director three years later.

The New York Public Libraries (NYPL) is one of the largest public library systems in the United States and one of the largest research library systems in the world. Ferriero is responsible for collection strategy; conservation; digital experience; reference and research services; and education, programming, and exhibitions. The NYPL has 2,600 full-time employees and a budget of $273 million.

As Archivist, Ferriero would be taking over an organization that, for fiscal year 2010, has a projected budget of $454 million and 2,998 full-time employees.

In addition to a BA and an MA in English Literature from Northeastern, Ferriero holds an MS from the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.