“I tend to overstay every place I go,” confesses Robert (Rocky) Schwarz.
Witness Schwarz’s two-year Peace Corps posting in Liberia during the 1960s-70s which stretched to eight-and-a-half years; the teaching assignment that further extended his time in West Africa; the 36 years he occupied various time-limited TC campus apartments; and, when he first expressed interest in working full-time at what’s now TC’s Business Services Center, the prescient warning he received from the Center’s then director, Mary Howard.
“She said, ‘I think you’ll be good at this – but you’re the kind of person who’ll never leave,” recalls Schwarz, who is now the Center’s Assistant Director. “A very smart lady.”
In all, Schwarz has spent 42 years at TC, arriving here as a student in 1977 and eventually earning master’s degrees in International Educational Development and Mathematics Education. But no one would ever accuse Schwarz of wearing out his welcome.
Schwarz received a prescient warning from the TC Business Center's director when he first applied to work there. “She said, ‘I think you’ll be good at this – but you’re the kind of person who’ll never leave. A very smart lady.”
“The community has been very good to me,” he says of the TC administrators, faculty, staff and students who have intersected with his life through the years.
Indeed, he is beloved by countless students whom he has obliged with last-minute production and copying of their dissertations. Almost anyone who has worked here for any length of time has schmoozed with him at some point – and just possibly heard about his latest triumphs in the world of crossword puzzling. (He’s a frequent top finisher in his age division, and has personally received awards from the New York Times’ legendary Will Shortz.)
And he annually gives to the TC Annual Fund – support that he calls a “vote of confidence” in TC’s staff, research, and students.
Especially the students.
“We believe in them and their ability to impact lives as future educators,” he said in a recent message to the community.
Past Annual Fund contributions from Schwarz have also supported the College’s Department of International & Transcultural Studies program. And his good works aren’t limited to supporting work at TC. In fact, Schwarz, over the years, has arranged for a dozen Liberians – including seven members of a single family – to come to the United States. He is also a co-founder and the continuing chair of the Cathedral School Educational Foundation, which supports the K-12 Liberian school where he taught (and was vice-principal) prior to returning to the U.S. in 1977.
The foundation provides the school with computers and educational supplies, teacher training, and student scholarships. “The support we receive from the TC family is another reason I love TC,” he says.
The sentiment, suffice it to say, is mutual.