Syracuse University

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Transformative $26.5 million bequest from estate of alumnus is largest amount ever received by SU for student financial aid

September 14, 2006

Kevin Morrow

Syracuse University has received its largest-ever gift devoted to student scholarship support -- $26.5 million -- from the estate of the late Frederic N. Schwartz, the former chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Co. and a 1931 graduate of SU's College of Arts and Sciences.

View a recording of the Frederic N. Schwartz Scholarship announcement news conference at

The Schwartz bequest, which establishes the Frederic N. Schwartz Scholarship Fund, will be invested in the University's endowment, with the investment income providing assistance to qualified students with demonstrated financial need. The $26.5 million represents a 19 percent increase in the portion of the University's overall endowment devoted to student financial aid.

"At Syracuse University, a key element of our Scholarship in Action vision is ensuring access for enterprising students with diverse backgrounds and experiences," says Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "As a result, we are attracting young scholars and innovators who are actively nurturing their creative ideas and engaging with the people and communities that they will affect in the world. Frederic Schwartz's incredible generosity will allow us to build on that momentum by significantly increasing the amount of financial aid available to attract and support students. We will remain forever grateful for his transformative gift."

SU has a strong history and tradition of being a place of opportunity, and time and again has provided the financial support needed to enable bright young people to realize their dreams. Emblematic of this effort, the University recently ranked in the top five in the nation among top private institutions in making college affordable for low-income students, as measured by the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants.

"The Schwartz bequest is a strong statement of affirmation of the value and importance of our expansive financial aid program at Syracuse University," says Vice President for Enrollment Management David C. Smith. "By applying proceeds of this gift to needy and worthy students, we will be able to continue our aggressive efforts to attract and enroll the best and the brightest."

Schwartz died in February 1995, at age 88. At that time, all of Schwartz's assets, in the form of a testamentary trust together with a separate lifetime trust, passed to his wife of 60 years, Eleanor H. Schwartz. Mrs. Schwartz, a Manhattan resident, died this past June. Upon her death, a sum in the amount of half of each trust was designated for distribution to her husband's alma mater, Syracuse University, and also to her alma mater, Brown University -- a total of $53 million to the two institutions -- to establish scholarship funds in his and her name, respectively.

"Syracuse University is well known, from the era of the `G.I. Bulge' to today, for offering opportunity to deserving students who might not otherwise be able to pursue a college degree," says Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric Spina. "Frederic Schwartz's gift is in keeping with this tradition and will enable future SU students to pursue their dreams."

Schwartz maintained ties with SU throughout his lifetime. He contributed regularly to the University's annual fund and library, and also served on the board of governors of the Syracuse University Research Institute. In addition to his bachelor's degree, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1963.

"The Frederic N. Schwartz Scholarship Fund will significantly strengthen and expand our commitment to educational access by supporting students with financial need, including those from middle-income families," says Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Thomas Walsh. "Frederic Schwartz made a commitment to Syracuse University years ago and today's great news is a result of a strong relationship that was established between the Schwartzes and the University's faculty and administration in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mr. Schwartz's gift is a shining example of the positive, transformational impact a planned gift can have on the lives of our students and our University."

"The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to honor the memory of Frederic N. Schwartz, truly one of our most distinguished alumni," says Dean Cathryn R. Newton. "We treasure him as a lustrous part of our own lineage of educational quality, for his legacy exemplifies, at the highest level, what we strive to make possible for our students. His transformative gift, which we welcome with the deepest of gratitude and admiration, will impact all SU students for generations to come."

Schwartz was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1906. His high school years were interrupted by a nearly fatal, four-year bout with tuberculosis. As a result of his illness, he developed a lifelong interest in health care and the development of drugs to combat disease.

At SU, Schwartz was manager of the track team and president of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon. Majoring in English and economics, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1931. Four years later, he married Eleanor Haley.

Schwartz worked for the Bard-Parker Co., a manufacturer of surgical instruments, for several years before resigning his position in 1942 to join the U.S. Army as a captain. At the time of his discharge in 1945, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel and achieved widespread praise for his performance as chief of operations of the Transfusion Service in the Surgeon General's Office, a role for which he was later awarded the Legion of Merit. The citation, recognizing his wartime duties in organizing and conducting the blood program of the U.S. Armed Forces, emphasized that under Schwartz's leadership "the enormous requirements of the armed forces for plasma were met at all times and in such fashion that no casualty had been denied life-saving plasma."

In 1945, Schwartz joined Bristol Laboratories, a division of Bristol-Myers Co., where he eventually developed what was then a bulk penicillin business into a diversified pharmaceutical house. He went on to become the first non-member of the Bristol family to hold the office of chief executive. He served as CEO from 1957 to 1967 and was chairman of the board from 1965-67. He continued as a member of the board of directors until 1972.

Under Schwartz's leadership, Bristol-Myers experienced a period of unprecedented growth. In 1957, the company consisted of a few divisions with annual sales of $107 million. Upon his retirement as board chairman in 1967, Bristol-Myers was conducting business in more than 100 countries, employing 12,000 people, and recording annual sales nearing $500 million. Schwartz was known as the early architect of the company's development in the health and personal care fields, exemplified by Bristol-Myers' acquisition of Clairol in 1959.

His imaginative leadership of Bristol-Myers and his contributions to the pharmaceutical industry moved Life magazine to single out Schwartz in 1962 as one of 20 American industrial leaders especially worthy of salute.

In October 1963, Frederic and Eleanor Schwartz visited the SU campus to participate in the daylong dedication ceremonies for the new Biological Research Laboratories (BRL) complex and the new computing center in Machinery Hall. Mrs. Schwartz cut the ribbon at the main entrance to BRL. Later that day, in a special convocation ceremony, her husband received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from SU for "bringing the service of the laboratory to the service of man."

In accepting Frederic Schwartz's gift, SU gratefully recognizes JPMorgan Chase Bank, the family's trusted advisors, for their stewardship of Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz's assets.