A portrait of a woman from the chest up in front of a book case.
As university archivist, Ruth Cody will assure that VCU Libraries continues to further enable the university’s understanding and knowledge of its culture and history through meticulous research, acquisition and management of records and materials. (Contributed photo)

Ruth Cody to join VCU Libraries as university archivist on Nov. 25

In Special Collections and Archives unit, she will play key role in preserving VCU history and perspectives.

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Ruth Cody will join the VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives department as university archivist effective Nov. 25.

As a leader for University Archives, the official repository for Virginia Commonwealth University records, Cody will develop and implement policy for the unit, build and maintain relationships with the university community, work to preserve the institution’s history and document the diverse perspectives and experiences found at VCU.

Cody, who joins VCU from the State Archives of North Carolina, also will work closely with the VCU Libraries’ processing, instruction and outreach teams to ensure these materials are made available to the public and promoted through campus instruction, outreach and programming. 

At VCU, the university archivist is a high-profile position that requires service to the university and broader community. In recent years, the archivist has been a critical voice in telling the story of the university's complex heritage and researching questions about its past. Cody’s predecessor, Jodi Koste, played a key role in many university initiatives, including supporting the research of enslaved people who labored at the Medical College of Virginia, working closely with the East Marshall Street Well Project and serving as a standing member on the Memorials and Commemoration Committee. 

Cody, who was recruited through a national search process, brings credentials that will ensure that VCU Libraries continues advancing the university’s understanding and knowledge of its culture and history through meticulous research, acquisition and management of records and materials.   

“I am thrilled to welcome Ruth Cody as our next university archivist,” said Chrystal Carpenter, head of Special Collections and Archives. “She brings a wealth of archival experience working with institutional and state records, from early print to born digital collections. Her collaborative approach and dedication to document, disseminate and preserve diverse voices and experiences will enhance our commitment to create a more inclusive and complete institutional history.”

At the State Archives of North Carolina, Cody most recently worked as the digital access branch head for the Digital Services Section. She managed and played a key role in digital preservation and access of state and institutional records, including the development of guidelines and processes for conscious description and the migration of the Archives’ North Carolina Digital Collections site. She also planned and participated in outreach activities to promote digital collections, collaborated on preservation and processing of born digital and digitized records, and stewarded a jointly curated American Indian digital collection with North Carolina American Indian Tribes and organizations.

Before her appointment as branch head, Cody held numerous other roles at the Archives, where she processed, arranged and described county and state agency records in all formats and managed access of records with complex public record laws. In addition, she worked closely with donors, communities and groups in a variety of capacities, from the acquisition of materials to outreach initiatives that support underserved and historically underrepresented communities.  

Cody holds a Master of Arts in public history with a focus in archives and information management and a Bachelor of Arts in history, both from North Carolina State University. She received a certification in digital curation from Library Juice Academy in 2023 and the Society of American Archivists’ Cultural Competency certification in 2020 and 2022.