Lee Schwarz

Lee Schwarz performs a song from his CD at a "coming-out" party in September 2011. (Photo provided)

Second Acts

Lee Schwarz takes a bow as he begins a new stage of life

Leroy B. (Lee) Schwarz, the Louis A. Weil Jr. Professor of Management, is ending his 35-year career at Krannert in May.

Just don’t call it a retirement.

An inveterate list maker, Schwarz has a full agenda: He’s a voracious reader, a volunteer at Lafayette Urban Ministry, an occasional student, devoted husband, raconteur and musician.

The next stage of Schwarz’s active life may include being on stage at a nearby coffeehouse.

In September 2011, Schwarz released his first CD, "Blue ... Another Friday Night" on the Unable.to.Undo label at a “coming out” event that included wife Rona’s fine-art photos.

Schwarz characterizes his CD as “a collection of songs that I've been singing since my days in college, plus songs that I've been drawn to since.”

The aptly named, reflective compilation features Schwarz’s soulful baritone and guitar augmented by cello, keyboards, and other accents provided by his musician friends.

“Mostly, I'm drawn to songs that tell a story, so I have songs on the CD by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and Lucinda Williams,” Schwarz says. “And, although the songs are 'covers', I endeavor to tell their story through my own experience, not whatever the experience of their authors might have been.

"When we began planning the ‘coming out’ party, Rona and I thought that maybe 25 people would show up. So we were delighted that more than 100 friends and colleagues came. Even John McConnell [Krannert’s Emanuel T. Weiler Distinguished Professor of Management] was there, although he told me later that I should have sung more happy songs."

Schwarz began his transition from teaching in 2009, teaching half-time in Krannert’s MBA program. Even then, the classroom beaconed him to return — this time as a student.

He began taking Spanish 101. “I aspired to get a ‘B’ but I ended up with ‘A,’” Schwarz says.

His recent success as student reveals a lifelong love of learning and the discipline it takes to achieve that propelled him into higher education.

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