Schwartz Remembered for His Kindness, Leadership and Generosity of Spirit

Accolades and fond memories have poured in on social media in remembrance of Michael Schwartz, Ph.D., the university’s ninth president, who died on Jan. 2, 2024, following a long illness. He was 86. 

Schwartz served as president from 1982 to 1991. He arrived at Kent State in March 1976, to serve as vice president for graduate studies and research. Schwartz also was a professor of sociology and psychology. 

Former Kent State President Michael Schwartz sits on Risman Plaza

Kent State’s LinkedIn page has been flooded with comments from alumni, former colleagues and friends about Schwartz’s kindness, his work ethic as a leader and educator and his genuine concern for his students.  

Kent State graduate Beth Shaw McGuire wrote that while attending Kent State during Schwartz’s tenure, she was impressed by his versatile demeanor. “I appreciated how he took his job very seriously and displayed a good sense of humor when appropriate,” wrote McGuire, who earned a bachelor of science degree in education. 

Stark County Recorder Jamie Walters earned a master's degree in public administration from Kent State in 2002 during the Schwartz administration. “I was blessed to get to know Mike when I was a grad student and served on the University Board of Trustees. Blessings to his family and all who knew and loved him,” wrote Walters. 

Rachel Kerns, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Portage County, recalled how Schwartz took time to chat with her and other students who were serving in student organizations. “He stopped down at the Student Center when I was in a group called Progressive Student Network and talked to a few of us. He was a very caring person. Condolences to his family.” 

Charles Holmes-Hope, a housing and residence life professional, worked with Schwartz when he was president at Cleveland State University from 2002-2009. 

“President Schwartz was a remarkable leader at Kent State and although we did not get a chance to work together at Kent State (we did at Cleveland State University, I had a chance to see his vision up close and in person) his legacy lives on at both amazing institutions where he served as president! He set the tone for excellence and what it should look like in the academy.” 

 Lindsey Loftus of Rootstown, Ohio, was a student during Schwartz’s tenure, and he worked for him. He wrote that Schwartz leaves an enduring legacy. 

“Dr. Schwartz was a great man. I had the opportunity to travel with him over the years to many Kent State University alumni events. His favorite was always the Chicago Alumni Club’s annual Cubs game. His legacy will forever be felt. He will be missed. My condolences to the family.” 

George Stevens, Ph.D., former professor, and Dean Emeritus at Kent State, wrote that Schwartz left his imprint wherever he went. 

“He was a busy and dedicated leader, yet he was a human being, personable and took time to give a smile and share a moment or a word. Administrative duties can consume a person, but he soldiered on always making a difference,” said Stevens. 

POSTED: Monday, January 8, 2024 03:06 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 9, 2024 10:37 AM
April McClellan-Copeland