May 9, 2013
Thomas J. Schwarz ’66, president of SUNY Purschase in Purchase, NY, and life trustee of Hamilton College, will be the featured speaker at Monday’s Class & Charter Day ceremony located in the Chapel.
Schwarz graduated from Hamilton College in 1966 with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, and later graduated cum laude from Fordham University Law School in New York City, where he was an editor on the Law Review.
Before becoming President of SUNY Purchase in 2002, he had an impressive career as a lawyer with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City. It was at that firm that Schwarz was National Practice Leader of the Litigation Department and founding partner of the Committee on Diversity.
In 1987, Schwarz became a member of the Hamilton College Board of Trustees. He eventually rose to head of the planning committee and supervised the first long-term plan in the history of the college. In 1999, he became the acting President of Hamilton College. As acting President, according to his biography on SUNY Purchase’s website, he “worked with a wide array of constituencies to improve administrative and operational functions and to secure increased private and grant funding.”
As President of SUNY Purchase, Schwarz has worked with members of its community in order to attain ever-growing levels of academic distinction. He has focused specifically on interdisciplinary study, collaboration, greater communications among students and faculty and has been able to draw new resources to the college. As a result of his leadership, the endowment of the College has increased, more residences have been build and foreign exchange programs have grown to include Turkey, Singapore and Mexico to supplement the already existing programs to Spain, France and Italy.
Perhaps his most significant achievement, however, is his oversight of SUNY Purchase’s reduction in greenhouse gasses. Schwarz signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, “which obliges him to follow a timeline and take certain steps toward making Purchase College climate neutral,” according to his official College biography. As a result of his efforts, The Princeton Review listed SUNY Purchase as one the nation’s 268 greenest campuses.
President Schwarz’s other notable accomplishments include being mayor of Ocean Beach, NY, being Special Counsel to the New York State Commission on Government Integrity, as well as his appointments to the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections, to be Counsel to the Governor’s Judicial Screening Committee and to the Task Force on Minority Representation on the Bench. In 1998 he was given the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Award, and he has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus with considerable career achievements with the Leonard Manning Award from the Fordham University Alumni Association Law Review. Most recently, in 2011, he was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve on the MTA Search Advisory Committee.