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With Major Gift, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business Reaches New Heights

Left to right: Dr. Gempesaw, Dr. Sharpe, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, and Mr. Garcia.
Monday, February 13, 2017

Taking The Peter J. Tobin College of Business to the next level as a nationally recognized, top-tier business school, Trustee Joseph H. Schwartz ’70C, ’72MBA, ’09HON and his wife, Maria, have made a major gift commitment to establish the Joseph H. and Maria C. Schwartz Endowed Fund at St. John’s University.

By funding the creation of the Joseph H. and Maria C. Schwartz Distinguished Chair, the endowment strengthens the Tobin College’s tradition of graduating exemplary business leaders. It also supports St. John’s strategic priorities to ensure student success while enhancing academic programs and support services.

“We are extremely grateful to Joe and Maria for their strong personal commitment to the University and for conceptualizing such a worthy endeavor,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President. “Because of their vision, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business is poised to reach the highest level of excellence.”

Dr. Gempesaw announced the establishment and assignment of the Distinguished Chair on December 12 at a private dinner for nearly 50 members of the St. John’s community, held at St. John’s School of Law on the Queens campus.

Norean R. Sharpe, Ph.D., Dean of The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, was awarded the endowed chair in recognition of her extensive experience as an educator, administrator, and scholar. “I am pleased to have received the Joseph H. and Maria C. Schwartz Distinguished Chair in honor of my new role as Dean,” said Dr. Sharpe. “The generosity of the Schwartz family demonstrates their devotion to St. John’s and to our vision of improving the academic excellence of both students and faculty at Tobin.

Dr. Gempesaw thanks the Schwartz family for supporting student success.

The endowment is the latest example of the family’s commitment to giving back. In 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz met Christian Garcia ’17CPS, ’18GCPS through The San Miguel School, the Providence, RI, middle school the young man attended. Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz have helped many San Miguel students, and they have both served on the board of directors. Today, they are sponsoring Christian’s St. John’s education.

“Thankful is not even close to the word I would use to express my gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz,” said Christian. A double major in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security, he will complete his bachelor’s degree in May and master’s degree in 2018.

Speaking at the dinner, Christian referred to Mr. Schwartz’s own struggle to meet the cost of college. Fortunately, “his dreams and aspirations were supported by an individual who must have seen his dedication, his hunger for knowledge, and his heart of gold.” As a result, Christian continued, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz “decided to pass along the deed, to change someone’s life. That someone is me.”

According to Dr. Sharpe, that support testifies to Joe and Maria Schwartz’s continuing legacy—“of passion for education, dedication to St. John’s, and willingness to serve” as role models for others. “They lead by example,” she concluded.