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Arthur Schwartz to Direct Oskin Leadership Institute

Arthur Schwartz, a senior scholar for the Center for Character and Leadership Development at the United States Air Force Academy, has been named the founding executive director of the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener University.

Schwartz, a resident of Ardmore, Pa., was selected following a national search. He will be responsible for charting the course for the new institute which was made possible by a $5 million gift from David W. Oskin of New Canaan, Conn., his wife, JoEllen, and their son, the late David Jr. The senior Oskin is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener University) class of 1964.

“I look forward to bringing my experience to the Oskin Leadership Institute, specifically an array of ideas for how to foster and support the character, courage and competencies of Widener students,” Schwartz said. “I love the challenge of creating a world-class institute that is global in reach, yet grounded in Widener’s rich leadership heritage.”

The Oskin Leadership Institute will provide a variety of opportunities for Widener undergraduate and graduate students to develop their leadership capacities, including international opportunities focused on developing and practicing the global mindset skills needed to effect positive change throughout the world. In addition, the institute will work with corporations and other organizations to offer an executive leadership program, providing opportunities for corporate and non-profit executives to enhance their global leadership skills.

A new academic building which will be home to the Oskin Leadership Institute and the School of Nursing is under construction at Widener and is expected to be completed by the end of August. Schwartz is scheduled to start at Widener on September 19.

“Arthur Schwartz has a proven history of developing creative and effective character and leadership development programs at all levels of education,” said Widener President James T. Harris III. “His experience and skills will help Widener become a global benchmark institution in developing the skills students need to become leaders in the corporate boardroom, in the halls of government, and in communities worldwide.”

Schwartz comes to Widener after serving the past two years as senior scholar at the Air Force Academy, assigned to the Center for Character and Leadership Development. At the academy, Schwartz led a team of military and faculty leaders in researching, designing and implementing a theory-supported and evidence-based conceptual framework that articulated a comprehensive approach to educating, training and inspiring men and women as they became leaders of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to the nation.

Prior to that, Schwartz served as a senior executive for the John Templeton Foundation from 1995 to 2009. Most recently, he served as executive vice president for the foundation, overseeing strategic planning, new program development and the grant review process. As director of character development from 1995 to 1998, Schwartz was responsible for developing programs throughout K-12 and higher education, both in the United States and internationally. He collaborated with the Association of American Colleges and University to design and implement the AACU’s Core Commitments initiative. In addition, he envisioned the National Schools of Character program, administered nationally since 1997 by the Character Education Partnership.

While at the Templeton Foundation, Schwartz also served as founding editor of In Character magazine and was senior editor of the book Colleges That Encourage Character Development.

As director of dropout prevention programs for the School District of Philadelphia, Schwartz received a Presidential Citation in 1991 for his efforts from then President George H.W. Bush.

Schwartz earned a doctorate in education from Harvard University, a master’s in education from Temple University, and a bachelor’s in political science from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also holds an honorary law degree from the College of the Ozarks.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website,