U.S. Senate confirms alumnus as U.S. Archivist

On Friday, the United States Senate voted to confirm Northeastern University alumnus David S. Ferriero, LA ’72, MA’76, as the 10th Archivist of the United States. Ferriero, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature from Northeastern, has served as Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries.

Ferriero, a Beverly, Massachusetts native, is a leader in the field of library science. He is taking over as 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 will oversee the maintenance and management of public records and be responsible for releasing government documents, including presidential papers.

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 was 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 is taking over an organization that, for fiscal year 2010, has a projected budget of $454 million and 2,998 full-time employees.

Ferriero will succeed Allen Weinstein who resigned as Archivist in December 2008. Deputy Archivist Adrienne Thomas is serving as the Acting Archivist until he assumes his duties.

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.