The United States’ chief official for overseeing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, will deliver this spring’s commencement address.
David Ferriero, the 10th Archivist of the United States, also maintains the federal government’s most valuable records.
Established in 1934, the Archivist of the United States is the chief official who oversees the operation of the National Archives and Records Administration.
According to Ferriero, this will be the first time he delivers a major commencement speech, as he has only delivered two graduate commencement speeches in the past.
Ferriero said he was honored to receive such an important and huge responsibility from N.C. State.
“I hold the school in high regards,” Ferriero said. “Duke, Carolina and N.C. State, the three of us are a real powerhouse, not only for the Triangle and North Carolina, but the entire country as well.”
Ferriero said he was asked to speak five or six months ago after receiving an invitation from Chancellor Randy Woodson.
At first, Ferriero believed he was being called to receive an honorary degree from the University, but was later asked to deliver the 2014 commencement speech.
Ferriero said that in considering his speech, he realized that if you were to ask someone to quote a phrase from their own commencement speech, they probably wouldn’t be able to do so. For this reason, Ferriero said he hopes to deliver a speech that is meaningful and memorable.
Ferriero said he will follow President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous advice to “be sincere, be brief, be seated,” as he speaks.
From the Oath of Allegiance to tweets from the White House, Ferriero said he manages 47 facilities that together hold more than 12 billion pieces of paper and 40 million photographs. Of these facilities, 13 are presidential libraries that range from the John F. Kennedy Library to the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.
Ferriero, a Beverly, Mass. native, received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University, and later earned his master’s degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science. Ferriero has worked in the library systems of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University, working to lead initiatives to develop facilities, adopt new digital technologies and to re-engineer printing and publications, according to the National Archives website.
As the librarian for Duke University from 1996 to 2004, Ferriero helped raise more than $50 million to expand and renovate the library on campus as well as worked to increase public access to libraries and museums in North Carolina. As NYPL’s director from 2004-2009, Ferriero helped integrate four research libraries and 87 branch libraries that resulted in the largest public library system in all of the United States, according to an article published in the Library Journal.
According to Northeastern’s news website, as the U.S. Archivist in 2010, Ferriero managed a budget of $454 million and 2,998 full-time employees, a significant change from the $273 million budget and 2,600 full-time employee count he managed at the New York Public Libraries.
In 2010, Ferriero hoped to instill the principles of Open Government, transparency, participation and collaboration to the National Archives and Records Administration, and he initiated a transformation to restructure the program. These changes have led to NARA’s use of social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to reach a larger audience, according to the National Archives website.
Ferriero said he would be posting on his blog through the Archivist of the United States website in the near future to crowd source for topics of interest.
“I’ll be asking folks for advice on what they would talk about if they were to give a commencement speech in 2014,” Ferriero said. “I’m really looking forward to this.”