Penn State Laureate presentation focuses on Jimmy Hoffa

David Witwer to discuss his research on March 19 during Zoom presentation
David Witwer

David Witwer, professor of American studies in Penn State Harrisburg's School of Humanities and the 2020-21 Penn State Laureate, will share his research in a Zoom presentation set for 12:15 p.m. Friday, March 19. “Searching for Jimmy Hoffa: The Disappearance of America’s Most Notorious Labor Leader and Why It Still Matters Today” is his signature presentation.

Credit: Penn State

YORK, Pa. — Penn State Laureate David Witwer will share his signature presentation, “Searching for Jimmy Hoffa: The Disappearance of America’s Most Notorious Labor Leader and Why It Still Matters Today,” during a Zoom presentation for the Penn State York community beginning at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, March 19. The presentation represents a culmination of many years of his personal research.

"The Penn State Laureate visit is a really special annual event for our campus community and for the faculty member who is honored with this title,” said Joy Giguere, associate professor of history and host of the laureate’s visit to campus. “This year's should be an exciting presentation on the disappearance of and search for Jimmy Hoffa, the story of which was popularly portrayed in the recent film 'The Irishman' by Martin Scorsese," she said.

Witwer, professor of American studies in Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Humanities, was named the 2020-21 laureate last year. As laureate, Witwer's lectures draw on his research on corruption, organized crime and labor racketeering. He also will focus on his current book project, “Searching for Jimmy Hoffa,” which traces the history of what is known about the disappearance of International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James R. Hoffa, his involvement with organized crime, and what his career reveals about working-class attitudes toward corruption.

Witwer hopes that his laureate presentations will not only provide an account of the events involved in this history, but also will connect those details to broader issues intrinsic to the humanities. He plans to generate conversations about what past confrontations with corruption can teach us today.

To receive the secure link for the Zoom presentation, email Giguere at [email protected].

The Penn State Laureate, an honorary position established in 2008, is a full-time faculty member in the humanities or the arts who is assigned half-time for one academic year to bring an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences. The individual appears at University events at Penn State campuses and throughout the state at various community programs in hopes of adding a more human dimension to the conduct of the usual affairs and business of these locations. Due to the pandemic, the majority of Witwer’s presentations have been held via Zoom.