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Professor Norman Craig says farewell

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New Yourker cartoonist Bob Blechman '52 on reunion reality

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One More Thing


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Political Science


Just two years after Charlene Drew Jarvis '62 was first elected to the Washington, D.C., city council in 1978, she became head of the Housing and Economic Affairs Committee. Her goal: To get the banks to help revitalize the city, still languishing after the devastating 1968 riots. Jarvis helped draft legislation requiring banks to change their business tactics, making the city's approval for bank mergers contingent on those changes. "They had to demonstrate a willingness to invest in redlined areas, put more women and minorities on their boards, and open branches in underserved parts of the community," says Jarvis.

Until 1978, Jarvis (who holds a Ph.D. in neuropsychology) was happy enough doing basic research on the brain, studying non-human primates at the National Institute of Mental Health, just outside Washington. But spurred by a sense that she ought to be more connected to the future of her native city, she worked on Sterling Tucker's mayoral campaign. Her man lost, but Jarvis was hooked. "I was captured by the promise of addressing the city's problems," she says. "I wanted to put the problem-solving skills of a scientist to work for the recovery of the city."

So when a Ward 4 councilman moved up the ladder to the council presidency, Jarvis thought quickly about the dramatic career shift, then tossed her lab coat into the ring. She handily won the seat. And she's held it ever since.

At press time, Jarvis was trying to hold on through what The Washington Post called the "most contested" race in the September 12 Democratic primary--in D.C., a vote more significant than the November general election. Whatever the outcome, Ward 4 will continue to be represented by an Oberlin graduate. Her opponent, lawyer Adrian M. Fenty, is a member of the class of 1992.



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