Pursuing a Dream Inspired by a City 

Lebanon Valley College graduate Charles McElwee poses outside of the Humanities Building.

As a history major at Lebanon Valley College, Charles McElwee ’11 spent time researching changing demographics in Hazleton, Pa., for a multi-semester independent study. Seven years later, McElwee works for and writes about that same city for national publications.

As the economic development specialist at CAN DO Inc. in Hazleton, McElwee oversees economic development and revitalization efforts in the Greater Hazleton region. It’s a logical progression from the research undertaken during his time at The Valley. 

“I studied the economic and demographic changes that were occurring in Hazleton within the historical context of the city,” said McElwee. Hazleton ended up playing a pivotal role in the 2016 Election, and attracted international coverage throughout the campaign. I had engaged these issues for Hazleton’s local paper, the Standard-Speaker, which in turn resulted in having pieces run in national magazines,” said McElwee, who worked with Dr. John Hinshaw, professor of history, on the project.

McElwee has contributed to The Atlantic, The American Conservative, The Weekly Standard, and The Federalist and his work has been featured in Politico’s Playbook, the Drudge Report, and RealClearPolitics. He primarily writes about U.S. politics, elections, and cultural and urban policy issues. 

McElwee credits the guidance and mentoring he received from faculty in the College’s History, Politics, and Global Studies Department as he progresses along his career path. 

“It’s hard to find a more supportive faculty and staff. LVC’s faculty and staff are invested in advancing their students’ career dreams, and show great empathy and support as they work toward their goals.”

Prior to his position in Hazleton, McElwee worked in the government affair sector in Harrisburg. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government in 2015.