SOURCE: Purchase College

May 08, 2014 13:05 ET

Purchase College President Thomas J. Schwarz to Be Awarded Honorary Degree at Hamilton College

PURCHASE, NY--(Marketwired - May 8, 2014) - Thomas J. Schwarz, president of Purchase College-SUNY, will receive an honorary degree from Hamilton College at its commencement ceremony on May 25, 2014. The event will take place beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. 

"We confer honorary degrees on men and women whose accomplishments can serve as examples for our graduates," says Joan Hinde Stewart, president of Hamilton College. "Tom Schwarz has had two outstanding careers: first as a partner and litigator at one of this country's most distinguished law firms and now as president of Purchase College, New York's premier public conservatory and liberal arts college."

Thomas J. Schwarz, a 1966 graduate of Hamilton College, is the fifth president of Purchase College. Since he joined Purchase in 2002, both retention and graduation rates have improved, the endowment has increased, the campus has added new residences and a Student Services building, and more students are taking advantage of international programs.

Prior to joining Purchase, Schwarz was a partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he was national practice leader of the Litigation Department. He was also the founding partner of the firm's Committee on Diversity.

Schwarz earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Hamilton College and a law degree, cum laude, from Fordham Law School, where he was an editor of The Fordham Law Review. Among other accomplishments, he served as mayor of the Village of Ocean Beach in Suffolk County; was special counsel to the New York State Commission on Government Integrity, and served on the Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections. The Legal Aid Society presented Schwarz with its Pro Bono Award in 1998. He is a recipient of the Leonard Manning Award from the Fordham University Alumni Association Law Review, which recognizes a distinguished alumnus for significant career achievements. Schwarz served on the New York State Preservation League board and in 2011, he was appointed by the governor to serve on the MTA search advisory committee.

"During my own tenure at Hamilton I have consulted Tom about numerous complex matters," adds Joan Hinde Stewart. "He has always responded generously and each time I have admired and appreciated the depth of his understanding and the clarity of his advice. I look forward with personal pleasure to presenting him with an honorary doctorate nearly 50 years after the conferral of his first Hamilton degree."

Schwarz joined the Hamilton College Board of Trustees in 1987. In 1999 he served as Hamilton's acting president, during which time he worked to improve administrative and operational functions and to secure increased private and grant funding.

About Purchase College-SUNY
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College-SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit

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