WMU News

WMU to award honorary degree to Sen. Schwarz

Nov. 3, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University will confer an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree on Sen. John J.H. Schwarz during Dec. 9 commencement ceremonies.

The degree, approved by WMU's Board of Trustees at its Oct. 27 meeting, will be made "in recognition of his years of service to the people of the state of Michigan."

The Battle Creek native is currently serving his fourth consecutive term in the Michigan Senate, representing Calhoun and Eaton counties and Delhi Township in Ingham County, and he is the Senate's President Pro Tempore, a position to which he was first elected in 1993. He also is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he serves as chairperson of both the Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Subcommittee on Central Government. In addition, he is a member of the subcommittees on Capital Outlay and Health Policy.

Prior to serving in the Michigan Senate, he was mayor of Battle Creek from 1985 to 1987 and a Battle Creek City Commissioner from 1979 to 1987.

Schwarz's political activities also extend to the national scene. This past July, he participated as a delegate to the International Republican Institute's observation of the presidential election in Mexico. Then, in August, he served as co-chairperson of the Michigan delegation to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

In addition to his political activities, Schwarz has maintained his private practice as a head and neck surgeon in Battle Creek since 1974 and is on the active staff of the Battle Creek Health System. Also involved in the national health arena, in early 1999 he was appointed director/treasurer of the $1.7 billion American Legacy Foundation, a national organization established to reduce tobacco usage in the United States.

Schwarz earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1959 and his medical degree from Wayne State University in 1964. He began service to the U.S. Navy in Vietnam in 1964 and was assistant naval attache to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia from 1966 to 1967.

Following military service, he completed a one-year surgical residency in Dearborn, Mich., then worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in Southeast Asia for two years. He then completed his medical training at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School. He served as the head of the Division of Otolaryngology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, which also is at Harvard Medical School, before returning to Battle Creek to launch his own practice.

Schwarz is past president of the Calhoun County Medical Society and past president of Leila Post Montgomery Hospital in Battle Creek. Active in alumni activities at the U of M and WSU, he also is a trustee of Olivet College.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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