Jean Trepp McKelvey graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wellesley in 1929. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Radcliffe College in 1931 and 1933. After Radcliffe, Dr. McKelvey taught at Sarah Lawrence College until 1946, when Cornell University formed the School of International and Labor Relations on its Ithaca campus and hired her as the school’s first faculty member. She wrote the curriculum for the school and taught courses in arbitration, labor law, and labor practices. In 1994, as a tribute to Dr. McKelvey and one of her fellow faculty members, the school established its first endowed chair, naming it the Jean McKelvey-Alice Grant Professorship of Labor Management Relations.
In 1947, Dr. McKelvey became the sole woman among the charter members of the National Academy of Arbitrators. In 1970, she was elected president of the academy, and during her tenure, she instituted an arbitration training program for women.
During her career, Dr. McKelvey was a highly sought after arbitrator for the airline industry as well as other sectors of the economy. President Richard Nixon appointed her to the Federal Services Impasses Panel in 1970, and she remained a member until 1978.
At the time of her death in 1998, she was still a member of the Public Review Board of the United Automobile Workers.
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