Schwartz was awarded the 2011 Thomas Jefferson Award, one of the highest honors given at the university. The award recognizes faculty, staff and students who advance the ideals of the third U.S. president and a Founding Father whose legacy extends to the arts, sciences, education and public affairs.
“The Thomas Jefferson Award winners are great ambassadors for our university. Their excellence in academics extends into communities throughout our state, where they partner with public and private entities to improve quality of life,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “We have many high-quality people providing great service to Colorado, and these deserving honorees are great examples of that.”
To be considered for the award, nominees must demonstrate: a broad interest in literature, arts and sciences and public affairs; a strong concern for the advancement of higher education; a deeply seated sense of individual civic responsibility; and a profound commitment to the welfare and rights of the individual. Honorees must combine excellence in the performance of regular academic or work responsibilities with outstanding service to the broader community.
As associate dean, Schwartz leads the School of Public Affairs at UCCS. Strictly a graduate school in the past, its mission expanded once Schwartz accomplished the development and approval of an undergraduate program in criminal justice.
“Throughout this process, Professor Schwartz has continued her zeal and commitment to teaching,” wrote James A. Null, professor, Political Science Department. “She offers classes and serves as both professor and adviser to her students.”
Schwartz also sponsors an annual leadership training event for the public sector, attracting up to 150 enrollees from the Colorado Springs area, and is active in the arts community. “Even with all of these activities she still finds time to be a scholar and publishes her writing,” wrote Null, noting Schwartz’s works on science, health in the public sector, public policy and public opinion.
A committee composed of CU faculty, staff and students from all four campuses selects award winners. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and a $2,000 honorarium, and are recognized formally by the CU Board of Regents.
The Thomas Jefferson Award was established at the University of Virginia in 1951 by the Robert Earll McConnell Foundation to honor teaching faculty who exemplified the humanistic ideals associated with Jefferson. By 1962, six other institutions had established a Jefferson Award, including CU. In 1980, the university added a student category; in 1988, the staff category was approved. Funding for the awards is derived from earnings on an endowment provided by the McConnell Foundation and from a bequest by Harrison Blair, a CU alumnus.
— Photos by Casey A. Cass, University of Colorado Boulder