Lasting Impressions

The Professor William Schwab Scholarship for the Humanities culminates a career filled with 'pleasant' memories

Retired Oakland University Professor Emeritus William Schwab in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Close up of his face, standing on a dock and looking out into the water

Retired Oakland University Professor Emeritus William Schwab in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photo by Rhona Rubio.


icon of a calendarJune 6, 2017

icon of a pencilBy Emell Derra Adolphus

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A library with no books was a fitting metaphor
during Oakland University's humble start as a new institution in 1959, says Professor Emeritus William Schwab, Ph.D.

"The library in North Foundation Hall didn't contain a single book," says Dr. Schwab, who was recruited from Michigan State University to join OU (then Michigan State University-Oakland) by Chancellor Woody Varner. "It contained one issue of LIFE magazine. So, it was like starting something from scratch and building, which in itself is a great pleasure."

Over a three-decade long career as a professor of Linguistics and English, Dr. Schwab saw OU evolve from a University with no books into a vital institution before retiring in 2001. The new Professor William Schwab Scholarship for the Humanities, available to upperclassmen and graduate students majoring in humanities, is a culmination of this experience, which he says was filled with "pleasant" memories.

Dr. Schwab had been a steady annual donor to OU and decided to establish the endowment as a "way to express gratitude to the institution and its people." He also has a planned gift in place that will roll a significant portion of his estate into the endowment upon his death, allowing him to continue impacting students' studies beyond his tenure at the University.

Humanities serve an important role in connecting people to an institution's legacy, he explains, "to be able to think, to make concerted judgments, to speak from a basis of knowledge and to battle ignorance."

Dr. Schwab now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and has not returned to OU's campus since his retirement. But his gift will ensure OU continues to grow and build upon the foundation he helped establish.

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