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Steven Schwartz named interim president at Fort Lewis College

Vice president of finance and administration has worked at the school for nearly 27 years
Steven Schwartz will take over as interim president on May 6, after the school year is complete. (Courtesy of Fort Lewis College)

The Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees has tapped Steven Schwartz, the school’s vice president for finance and administration, as interim president.

Schwartz will take the reins from Tom Stritikus on May 6. Stritikus announced last week that he is stepping down to pursue a job as president of Occidental College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles.

“With a 27-year tenure of service to our College, Steve has the historical wisdom, financial acuity, political networks, and hard-earned trust of the Skyhawk community,” said Mary Rubadeau, chair of the FLC Board of Trustees, in an email to staff and students. “Steve will build upon our momentum as we launch the search for a permanent president.”

Campus leaders and board members met last week to discuss who would best fill role. Schwartz has worked at the college for almost 27 years, serving under seven different presidents during his tenure. He has served as the vice president for finance and administration for the last 22 years.

Before that, he was a student at Fort Lewis College, graduating in the class of 1992.

In an interview Monday, Schwartz said his main priority is to maintain the momentum Stritikus built around the college’s strategic plan, financial planning, and stability and legislative support.


“We've got great legislators – great support – locally and throughout the state for what we do,” he said. “And so that'll continue to be at the top of the list.”

The college recently received $1.3 million in congressionally directed spending for its renovations to Skyhawk Hall, which will turn the building into a facility for the college’s new nursing program.

The college’s strategic plan will evaluate institutional strengths, existing resources and the college’s overall progression during the next 10 years.

Schwartz also created the mortgage assistance program for FLC employees. The program was developed to help employees own a home in the high-cost environment of Durango.

Schwartz said he does not intend to apply for the president’s position.

“I love what I do as the chief operating officer,” he said. “I've been here for almost 27 years now. And it's where my passion lies.”

The board of trustees will meet on April 12 to define what the applicant process will look like.

“I am humbled by the trustees’ decision and honored to serve Fort Lewis College in this new capacity,” Schwartz said. “Our students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees are awesome and FLC is stronger than ever. I’m excited to continue our momentum as we search for a permanent president.”