Longtime Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz announced today that he will retire in June 2019.
Schwarz has led the college for 17 years, one of the longest serving presidents in the SUNY system. He was named the fifth president of Purchase in 2003, after arriving on campus as acting president in 2001.
His retirement will coincide with the end of the college’s 2018-19 academic year. The college’s council will form a committee of its members, faculty, staff, students and alumni to search for its next president.
In the announcement, the college listed accomplishments from Schwarz that include improved retention and graduation rates and a boost in the school’s endowment from approximately $35 million to $87 million. The school has also undergone significant renovations and new structures in his time, including a Center for Media, Film, and Theatre under construction.
Schwarz said in the announcement he is “intensely proud” of the students he has worked with.
“It is the students of Purchase College who have made this job so interesting and, quite frankly, so hard to leave,” he said. “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.”
Schwarz will remain on the college’s board in retirement. From there he will continue to lead one of his signature initiatives, the college’s efforts in developing an on-campus senior living community, now branded Broadview, Senior Living at Purchase.
Before Purchase College, Schwarz was a partner at the Manhattan law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he was national practice leader of the firm’s litigation department and founding partner of the firm’s Committee on Diversity.