McCourt School of Public Policy professor Harry J. Holzer has been named the John LaFarge Jr. S.J. Professor of Public Policy.

A leading expert on the challenges facing low-wage workers, Dr. Holzer has written or edited 12 books and numerous journal articles with special focus on the experiences of minorities in the labor market.  His work on spatial mismatch and the challenges facing minority men in inner cities has been widely cited and he is one of the nation's most influential scholars developing policy solutions to attack these problems. 

“I am thrilled and proud that Georgetown has recognized Harry for his exceptional work,” said Edward Montgomery, Dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy and a long-time colleague of Dr. Holzer. “His dedication to advancing the public good and to the students of the McCourt School over the past 16 years make this professorship a well-deserved honor.”

Harry HolzerA Bridge from Campus to Policymakers

Highly regarded across the policy community, Harry is regularly sought and cited by academics and practitioners alike.

“Harry is a fairly rare bird – a brilliant and totally rigorous economist and an important public intellectual,” said Peter Edelman, professor of law and public policy at the Georgetown Law Center. “He is equally respected in the academy and as an expert witness in a congressional hearing. He is not only a bridge from the campus to the world of policymakers – he is a star on the ground on both sides of the bridge.”

In addition to his role at Georgetown, Dr. Holzer is an institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research, a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings Institution, a senior affiliate at the Urban Institute, and a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  He was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and a faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He earned his BA and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

“As you study Harry's resume with a growing sense of awe, it suddenly occurs to you that his fame and respect is not based so much on any particular paper, book, invited address, or award that he has achieved, but on the realization that he has achieved more of all those things than anyone else,” said Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution senior fellow. “And having worked with him for 15 years, I can assure you that he's not even close to being done.”

A Dedicated Public Servant and Teacher

Prior to his term at Georgetown, he served as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and as professor of economics at Michigan State University.  Dr. Holzer joined what was then the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, as professor in the fall of 2000, and served as Associate Dean from 2004 – 2006. 

He teaches classes on statistical methods and program evaluation methods, as well as on poverty and the social safety net. 

“In addition to being a leading scholar, Harry is an award-winning teacher whose classes are in high demand,” Montgomery said. “Not only is he a mentor to our current students, but he has devoted countless hours to recruiting the best prospective students to McCourt, and speaks passionately about the importance of public service and how research and evidence can solve intransigent policy problems to improve people’s lives.”

John LaFarge Jr. S.J.

The Chair is named in honor of John LaFarge Jr. S.J., an American Jesuit priest known for his activism against racism and anti-Semitism.

In the run-up to World War II, LaFarge worked on a draft of a papal encyclical against racist and totalitarian ideologies for Pope Pius XI.  LaFarge walked in the 1963 March on Washington and stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial behind Martin Luther King for his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, a public acknowledgment of LaFarge's early role in the movement for racial equality.

This new faculty chair enables the McCourt School to recognize Dr. Holzer’s significant contributions to scholarship and to support his future work. The McCourt School will recognize Dr. Holzer at a reception on Monday, October 24.