David Witwer, Penn State Laureate, to speak virtually to students in October

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Penn State Greater Allegheny will host a virtual discussion with David Witwer, Penn State Laureate at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7.  Witwer, professor of American studies at Penn State Harrisburg, will present “Searching for Jimmy Hoffa: The Disappearance of America’s Most Notorious Labor Leader and Why It Still Matters Today.”

During his presentation, Witwer will discuss the 1975 disappearance of Hoffa, the most notorious labor leader in the United States, and the presumed victim of a mob hit. The case remains unsolved and the Hoffa story continues to fascinate the public, finding its ways into popular culture in myriad ways, including the recent Martin Scorsese movie, "The Irishman." Witwer's talk will link this case to the federal government’s successful war on organized crime and to the shifting fortunes of the American workers who had once been among Hoffa’s most avid supporters.

Before coming to Penn State, Witwer worked for the New York County District Attorney’s Office. He was an investigative analyst on assignment with the New York State Organized Crime Task Force looking into the mob’s role in the construction industry. Later, he drew on that investigative work when he served with the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York and worked with Office of Investigations in the Teamsters Union.

He has written three books on labor racketeering: "Corruption and Reform in the Teamsters Union" (2003), "Shadow of the Racketeer: Scandal in Organized Labor" (2009, and most recently, "Murder in the Garment District: The Grip of Organized Crime and the Decline of Labor in the United States" (2020).

Established in 2008, the Penn State Laureate program brings greater visibility to the arts and humanities as scholars share their work across the commonwealth.

To learn more about Witwer’s upcoming discussion, and to receive the Zoom link, contact Connie Surman at [email protected].