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President Schwarz Announces His Plans for Retirement

He will retire at the end of the 2018–19 academic year.

President Schwarz, who is one of the longest serving presidents in the SUNY system, was named the fifth President of Purchase in 2003. He arrived at Purchase as Acting President in 2001. 

Under President Schwarz’s leadership, the college has experienced a significant improvement in retention and graduation rates; has increased its endowment from approximately $35 million to $87 million; and has undergone significant renovations and commissioned new structures including the forthcoming Center for Media, Film, and Theatre, all reflective of the campus commitment to environmental and social responsibilities.

Additionally, President Schwarz has embraced entrepreneurship in an effort to create new revenue streams that support the mission of the college. He plans on devoting much of his last year to the creation of Broadview, a senior living community in development for the campus. Following his retirement, President Schwarz will continue to be a member of the Board that is directing the project.

In his announcement to the campus, President Schwarz shared his confidence in the institution’s leadership, faculty, and staff and his optimism for the future of the college. He expressed his admiration for the students, stating, “It is the students of Purchase College who have made this job so interesting and, quite frankly, so hard to leave. I have had the pleasure of knowing many who have graduated and have drawn inspiration from their talents, successes, life stories and experiences. Our students define diversity.  I am intensely proud of their commitment to find themselves, to support others in their journeys, to transform their work on campus into fulfilling careers, and to recognize their roles in improving our communities.”

Provost Barry Pearson said, “Under President Schwarz, Purchase College has flourished academically and artistically and has become more cohesive through the emphasis on interdisciplinary learning across and among the arts, liberal arts, and sciences. President Schwarz should be commended for helping to foster an intellectually curious and socially engaged culture. His departure will be a loss for the college and the community.”

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, “President Schwarz has encouraged the staff, faculty, and students of Purchase College to push boundaries by opening their minds to higher achievement in academics, and taking seriously their environmental and social responsibility. He has led by example, and since signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, he has solidified Purchase College’s position in supporting renewable energy and taking important steps to achieve climate neutrality. We are grateful to President Schwarz for his dedication to the SUNY and Purchase College family, his commitment to New York State, and on a personal note, his friendship.” 

Before coming to Purchase College, President Schwarz had a distinguished career as a partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he was National Practice Leader of the Litigation Department and was the founding partner of the firm’s Committee on Diversity. 

President Schwarz earned a BA in economics from Hamilton College and a JD from Fordham Law School.

In the near future, the College Council will form a committee of council members, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to oversee a search for a new president.