Coinciding with the opening of the NARA Watergate exhibit, the Nixon Foundation hosted a luncheon today to honor the Archivist of the United States, Mr. David S. Ferriero, as well as the Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries, Ms. Sharon Fawcett.
Prior to being confirmed as U.S. Archivist in November 2009, Mr. Ferriero was the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries, and was responsible for creating the largest public library system in the United States.

Watergate is just one exhibit in the library, Sharon Fawcett said, and encouraged the public to review President Nixon’s legacy as a whole. As the Assistant Archivist for Presidential Libraries, Ms. Fawcett oversees 13 presidential institutions around the country; she told the intimate gathering that she had always wanted the Nixon Library to be part of the NARA system, she had grown up feeling close to Richard Nixon, and is proud of the vast archive of collections now housed in Yorba Linda.

Foundation board members Ken Khachigian, Hubert Perry, and John Barr were present at the luncheon, as well as Foundation Chairman Ronald H. Walker. Edward Nixon delivered a toast to his older brother, recalling fondly the connections that President Nixon established between different cultures around the world. Sandy Quinn, President of the Richard Nixon Foundation, was the master of ceremonies.

Khachigian, a former RN speechwriter who worked on the 37th President’s Memoirs in San Clemente and was later President Reagan’s chief speechwriter, debunked the myth that RN was “secretive,” instead saying that he was “one of the most transparent individuals I’ve ever worked with.” He was “very interested in other peoples’ opinions,” Khachigian said.

At the same time, Board Chairman Ron Walker sought to correct the often-published belief that the Nixon Foundation was thwarting the efforts of NARA as “so wrong.” On the contrary, he complimented the working relationship between the two organizations and told the audience he was proud to bring the “old Nixon people” back to Yorba Linda through a series of very successful and nationally televised Nixon Legacy Forums, illuminating the legacy of the 37th President.

“To get Watergate behind us is the best for all of us,” Walker said. “It is now done. now we can focus on the many very significant achievements of the 37th President.”

Top photo:  U.S. Archivist David Ferriero holds up a gift given to him by the Nixon Foundation.  He is flanked by former RN speechwriter Ken Khachigian (left) and Foundation President Sandy Quinn who served as master of ceremonies.