Metcalfe Chair

The Metcalfe Chair is a non-residential visiting scholar of African-American, Latinx, or Native American heritage. In 1981, Marquette University established this program to honor the legacy of Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr., a Marquette alumnus who graduated from the College of Liberal Arts in 1936. After a distinguished Olympian who earned gold and silver medals in the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games, Metcalfe served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon returning to his native Chicago, Metcalfe held a series of political posts before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Metcalfe died on October 10, 1978; however, his legacy lives on at Marquette through this program.


Academic and co-curricular programs are invited to propose an educational leader, scholar-practitioner, researcher, or social justice advocate to serve as the Metcalfe Chair. The purpose of the Metcalfe Chair is to highlight and amplify the scholarly voices of underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Since 1982, over 60 scholars have held the title of Ralph H. Metcalfe Chair, including Dr. Imani Perry, Dr. Kenneth Clark, Dr. Molefi Asante, Mr. Chinua Achebe, Dr. Theresa Perry, Bree Newsom, Reverend Jim Wallace and Dr. Barbara Ransby.

Your department will host the scholar when on campus, which includes:

  • Approval and support of your Dean or VP
  • Planning and implementing programs for the Marquette community with attention to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Planning at least one campus-wide event/lecture
  • Promoting event(s)
  • Collaborating with Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and other co-sponsors
  • Completing necessary contracts

Successful proposals will be supported financially by the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Departments or offices that would like to host future Metcalfe Chairs should contact Dr. Chris Navia, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, subject line: Metcalfe Chair Proposal.

See a list of our past Metcalfe Chairs.