Charlene Drew Jarvis, PhD

Senior Advisory Committee



In her long and distinguished career, CHARLENE DREW JARVIS has held positions as a neuroscientist, legislator and university president.


Dr. Jarvis’ educational background led to a career as a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. (1971-1978). She received a BS from Oberlin College (1962), an MS from Howard University (1964), and a PhD in Neuropsychology (1971) from the University of Maryland, all the while balancing the demands of a wife and mother of two active young boys.

Her research with co-investigators appeared in scientific publications such as the Annals of Neurology; Neuroscience Abstracts; Brain Research, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and Brain, Behavior and Evolution.

Responding to the need to help re-build the economy of Washington, DC after the riots following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., Councilmember Jarvis ran for public office and was elected 6 times to the Council of the District of Columbia (1979-2000).

Her work as Chair of the Committee on Economic Development for more than 20 years was pioneering. The Washington Convention Center, the Verizon Center, Business Improvement Districts, Tax Increment Financing, The Housing Production Trust Fund and legislative initiatives designed to prevent red-lining by commercial banks stand as important, and collaborative, contributions.


Dr. Jarvis was appointed in 1996 as president of Southeastern University, founded by the YMCA in 1879. True to the mission of the YMCA, her goal was to give students both theoretical and practical applications of knowledge. Thirteen years later, in 2009, she orchestrated a unique merger of the University with the USDA Graduate School in Washington, DC.

The Honorable Charlene Drew Jarvis was named one of the most powerful women in Washington by "Washingtonian Magazine” in 1989, 1994, and 2007 and by "The Washington Business Journal" in 1985.


Jarvis’ legacy as the daughter of Dr. Charles R. Drew, the blood bank pioneer, has given her a special perspective as an advocate for science and health education. In her association with the American Red Cross, Dr. Jarvis has traveled to many Red Cross and Bone Marrow sites around the nation to speak about her father’s accomplishments and to encourage the participation of minority blood and marrow donors. In 2014, Dr. Jarvis was given an award for her service from the Washington, DC Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Dr. Jarvis is the recipient of more than 100 awards for her leadership, including honorary doctorates from Amherst College, George Washington University, Oberlin College, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University.

Charlene Drew Jarvis is valued for her analytical skills, intellectual rigor, probing questions, and pragmatic approach to problem solving. These traits made her advisory contributions much in demand by dozens of major organizations and commissions.

Describing herself now as the “working” retired, Dr. Jarvis serves: 

·      on the Executive Committee of the Federal City Council,  with its Executive Director, former Mayor Anthony Williams;

·      on The Advisory Committee of the Newseum;

·      on the Board of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio

·      on the Board at Edmund Burke, an Independent School

·      as a Senior Advisor to a charter school with high performing students, KIPP DC;

·      on the Transition Committee of Mayor Muriel Bowser

·      on the  board of the University of the District of Columbia

·      on the Cross-Sector Task Force on Charter and DC Public Schools led by Deputy Mayor for Education, Jennie Niles

·      Co-chair, with American University President Sylvia Burwell, of Mayor Bowser’s Our Schools Leadership Committee to make recommendations for the selection of the next Chancellor of the District of Columbia. Public Schools.

Dr. Jarvis is the mother of the late Peter David, and Ernest Drew Jarvis (Debbi Lockhart Jarvis) and grandmother to EJ and Jacob Jarvis.

In 2013, her second marriage was to Dr. DeMaurice Moses, a retired pediatrician with whom the respective families shared summers in a beach community outside of Annapolis, Md.




About Us

Rediscovering District of Columbia history – and its consequential role in determining contemporary politics and policy serves as our primary charge.

We will establish platforms for making Washington, D.C. history more accessible and intriguing to contemporary audiences and explore, especially through the lens of the Nation’s Capital, the cultural/political fault-lines that have perennially plagued our nation and obstructed our quest to become a more perfect union.

Upcoming Events

Media and Blog Post

IPPH © Design by DbyrdInc 2019