Today, UNC Press is announcing that after 34 years with the publishing house, editor-in-chief David Perry intends to retire in March 2013. Perry joined UNC Press as an editorial assistant in 1979 and was named the Press’s editor-in-chief in 1995. He acquires books in history and southern studies, with a special focus on Civil War and military history, as well as books for the Press’s regional general-interest list.
During his time at the Press, Perry has served on the North Carolina Arts Council and the boards of the North Carolina Writers Network and the North Carolina Writers Conference. He was a member of several task forces to craft new policies for copyright and intellectual property at UNC and helped found the university’s Working Group in Scholarly Communication.
“Others have reported that retirement from something one loves is a bittersweet experience, and I am starting to understand that now. I have been fortunate to be able to spend virtually my entire working life in a rewarding job, surrounded by dedicated colleagues and working with wonderful and committed authors, many of whom I now count among my best friends,” said Perry. “But I am going out on a high note. The Press is in great shape—especially with the hiring of a creative new director in John Sherer. We have terrific, experienced people at every level who maintain a firm sense of the Press’s role in the academy and our responsibilities toward the reading public of our state, region, and beyond. When the time comes next spring, I’ll be leaving with confidence that the future is bright for UNC Press.”
“For as long as most of us can remember, David Perry has been the public face of UNC Press,” said Sherer, who was a member of the Press staff from 1989 to 1991 before returning to the Press as Spangler Family Director in July 2012. “But his enormous impact on the UNC community and the state of North Carolina pale in comparison to the impact he’s had within the Press. I know I share the sentiments of everyone at the Press when I say I am lucky to have worked with him, and the Press is immeasurably a better institution because of his contributions here.”
Bland Simpson, author of seven books published by UNC Press, has worked closely with Perry over the years. “David Perry’s abiding devotion to the Press’s mission and his wonderfully warm personality have inspired much esprit de corps both among the staff and the authors who have worked with him,” Simpson said. “He has not only acquired books—he has nurtured careers. And he has done so with wit, vision, and a magnificent strength of purpose.”
A native of Asheville, Perry is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which he attended on a Morehead Scholarship.
Founded in 1922, UNC Press is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States.