ASU Receives Federal Funding to Build New McCain National Library

Cindy McCain, wife of late Sen. John McCain, greets President Joe Biden as he arrives to deliver remarks on democracy and honoring the legacy of Sen. McCain at the Tempe Center for the Arts, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Robert Gundran

September 28, 2023

ASU said the library will hold McCain’s papers and materials from his decades of work as a public official.

President Joe Biden has announced federal funding for a national library named after former US Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

McCain died of brain cancer on Aug. 25, 2018. He served six terms in the US Senate representing Arizona.

Biden made the announcement in a Sept. 28 speech in which he touched on American democracy and held up McCain in contrast to Donald Trump-style Republicans.

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The president visited Tempe after making a campaign stop in San Francisco on Sept. 27 and walking the picket line with striking auto workers in Michigan on Sept. 26.

Cindy McCain, the late senator’s wife, introduced the president before he gave the speech at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

“While John and [Biden] differed on many political issues through their respective careers, the great causes that brought them together and were most important to our nation are shared,” she said.

The McCain National Library will be a multipurpose facility for people in Tempe to work, learn, and research. The library will be built just north of ASU’s Tempe campus on a 22.5-acre plot of land near Mill Avenue and Curry Road with funds from the American Rescue Plan.

ASU said the library will hold McCain’s papers and materials from his decades of work as a public official.

During his speech, Biden shared stories of his friendship with the late senator.

“I thought about what we owe John, what I owe him,” Biden said. “John is one of those patriots who, when they die, their voice is never silent. They still speak to us. They tug at our heart and conscience.”

The president said McCain put country before party, and he believed in the United States and Americans.

The library will also serve as an Arizona site for the McCain Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank founded in 2012. The think tank is affilated with ASU, and focuses on programs that advance American democracy and human rights and combat human trafficking and extremism.

“[The library is] going to house John’s archives, host dialogue and debate, [and] inspire future leaders around the world,” Biden said.

ASU shared a video with a rendering of the library.

The schedule and timeline for construction have not been finalized.

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  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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