President Joe Biden formally announced plans for a new library at ASU in honor of late U.S. Senator John McCain during a speech at the Tempe Center for the Arts on Thursday.
“Democracy is not a partisan issue; it's an American issue,” Biden said at the event. “I've come to honor the McCain Institute and Library because they are a home of a proud Republican who put his country first.”
According to a press release from the McCain Institute, the new library, named the McCain National Library, will be built on 22.5 acres of land near Papago Park, north of Tempe Town Lake on the corner of Mill and Curry Avenues. The location is about one mile from campus.
The timeline for the development of the project has yet to be established.
The library will serve as a gathering spot for students, residents, and visitors in Tempe as well as a solutions center to learn about “leadership, democracy and national security,” according to the McCain Library website.
“It is fitting to honor a statesman of Senator McCain’s caliber with this federally funded library," McCain Institute Executive Director Evelyn Farkas said in a press release. "The McCain Library will be an outstanding resource for the McCain Institute, Arizona State University and the wider Tempe community. We are proud to be a part of this effort."
The 80,000-square-foot library will house archives of McCain’s work while in office. It will also include a visitor’s center and the Arizona home for the McCain Institute, which is currently based in Washington, D.C.
The McCain Institute, founded in 2012, is a nonpartisan organization and part of ASU based in Washington, D.C., focusing on democracy and human rights. The institute offers student research and internship opportunities regarding global leadership and humanitarian efforts.
At Thursday’s event, President Biden said institutions like the McCain Institute and Library “depend on the Constitution and our character, and the habits of our hearts and our minds.”
The federal funds for the design and construction of the project will come from the American Rescue Plan Act, a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan that passed early in Biden’s presidency.
McCain represented Arizona during his two terms as a U.S. Representative and served as a U.S. Senator from 1987 until his passing in 2018.
“This future library will provide a beating heart and soul to help further the causes John so dearly believed in,” McCain’s widow and executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, Cindy McCain, said. “It will be the impetus to bring them back to where they belong and the place that he loved so: Arizona.”
President Biden concluded the event with a hopeful message to students in attendance.
“To the students here today and young people across the country, you’re the reason I’m so optimistic,” Biden said. “I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s chances in domestic and foreign policy as I am today."
Edited by Shane Brennan, Angelina Steel, and Walker Smith.
Sadie Buggle is the Editor of the State Press Opinion Desk. This is her third semester working for the State Press after two semesters reporting for the Community and Culture Desk.