Truman Schwartz and Beverly Beatty first glimpsed each other at the University of South Dakota in 1952, during their first rehearsal with the USD marching band. Truman played the trumpet and Bev played the clarinet. He remembers exactly what she was wearing that day; she doesn’t recall meeting him. Despite that, they have been married for over 60 years.

Since graduating from USD in 1956, Truman and Beverly have been loyal and ardent supporters of the university, making gifts in support of various projects for more than 35 consecutive years.

Although Truman and Beverly met early in their freshman year and were members of the same section of freshman English, their first date wasn’t until the spring of 1953, when she accepted his invitation to a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity formal dance. It was a memorable event, but one that might have ended their relationship—with, by his own admission, the “ungainly and inexperienced” Truman stepping on his partner’s toes before getting his father’s brand-new Chevy stuck in the mud.

Both graduated from USD in 1956—Truman in chemistry and Bev in elementary education. Like many new graduates, they faced the question of “What’s next?” That question was answered for the uncertain couple when Truman was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University and Bev accepted her first teaching job in Las Vegas. So they went in opposite directions, but they wrote to each other every day for two years. During the summer of 1957, Bev sailed to England for a reunion with her beau, and they spent several months touring Europe, chaperoned by a bus-load of fellow USD alumni. The highlight of the trip was their engagement, ironically on July 4.

Soon after completing the requirements for a second B.A. and an M.A. from Oxford, Truman returned to the United States and Vermillion, where he and Bev were married in 1958. The newlyweds then moved to the Boston area where Truman enrolled in the graduate program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Bev was hired as a first-grade teacher in Needham.

In 1963, Truman received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from MIT and took a job as a research chemist with Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. Truman’s industrial career lasted only three years. In 1966, influenced by the examples of his USD professors, he accepted an offer to join the chemistry department of Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He served in that capacity for 38 years.

With Truman’s career beginning to take shape, Bev took a sabbatical leave from teaching. Subsequently, their first child, Ronald, was born, and three years later their daughter Katherine. Once Ron and Kate were both in school, Bev was soon again in the classroom herself. She completed a master’s degree in reading at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul and began what would be a 25-year career with the Saint Paul Public Schools. She also did additional post-graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and the American University in Washington, D.C. Much of her teaching was in special education at the middle school level.

Since graduating from USD in 1956, Truman and Beverly have been loyal and ardent supporters of the university, making gifts in support of various projects for more than 35 consecutive years.

Giving Back to Educators

It’s apparent that education is important to the Schwartzes. With a career in higher education, Truman saw firsthand the impact of private philanthropy. As a result, the couple supports their alma maters. With more than 35 years of consecutive giving to various projects and areas of need, Truman and Beverly have impacted generations of students and faculty at USD.

“It’s an ongoing commitment, a recognition that this institution had a very significant role in our lives,” Truman explained. “It is an affirmation of how we can build upon our positive experiences and help make similar experiences available for current and future students and faculty.”

One way they are doing so is through the Truman and Beverly Schwartz Distinguished Faculty Award Endowment Fund, which provides a special three-year professional financial stipend to deserving faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences. Since the award was established in 2003, there have been five recipients. The most recent of these is Darlene Farabee, chair and associate professor in the English department.

Farabee is in her tenth year of teaching at the University of South Dakota. She specializes in teaching sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British literature (including Shakespeare) and does extensive research on literature of the period, publishing her own work on the subjects and contributing to other publications. She completed her undergraduate studies in English at Temple University, earned master’s and doctorate degrees in English literature from University of Delaware and made a home in South Dakota in 2008 as she was impressed with the English department at USD.

Farabee received the Schwartz award in 2017 and feels this honor both recognizes and supports her work toward fulfilling the humanities education goals of the university. She is grateful for the award as it has provided many opportunities for not only her, but for students and the department as well.

“In the fall, I used some Schwartz award money to take English students to see plays in Minneapolis,” Farabee explained. “It is a fantastic opportunity for students to see Shakespeare plays on stage after we’ve been reading and studying them. It can be difficult for departments or the college to find money to support these important out-of-classroom experiences.”

Along with supporting students, the award supports Farabee conducting research in her specialty and attending conferences to present her research. These conferences also provide discussions of innovative approaches to teaching, such as how to include diverse authors, which she says can be difficult with earlier British literature. In ways such as this, Farabee’s research activity impacts both her field and students in the university community.

“In all our giving, we have been largely motivated by our experiences and what we think are important ways of using our resources for the benefit of future generations,” Truman shared.

A Philanthropic Spirit

USD looms large in the lineage of Beverly and Truman Schwartz. Bev’s father, C. R. Beatty, earned both undergraduate and law degrees; her mother, Letitia Larson, earned a B.A.; and Truman’s father, Albert Schwartz, was granted a USD M.A. That tradition, the quality of their USD education and the impact of their professors and mentors were strong influences in motivating Beverly and Truman to contribute to the university. They are pleased to be making a difference in the lives of faculty and students and are impressed with how the academic rigor of the institution has increased over the years, while the caring quality of instruction has remained exemplary.

They also recognize that the need for private support grows as college tuition climbs faster than public tax-based funding. When Truman and Beverly attended USD, tuition was $42 per semester. “Alumni need to step in to fill the gap,” Truman said.

To encourage alumni to support their alma maters, the Schwartzes believe that cultivating connections and a sense of belonging is essential. Farabee echoes this belief and described how the English department seeks to maintain contact with a yearly newsletter and events such as a reception in Old Main after the graduation ceremony each year.

“We try to give students a sense of their community in the English department, because they get more out of their education if they are more engaged,” Farabee explained. “These connected students are also more likely to maintain their ties to and support of the department.”

Truman and Beverly Schwartz appreciate the opportunity to not only give back financially, but also to contribute their time and talents to the university and to be valued as alumni in the Coyote family.

“In all our giving, we have been largely motivated by our experiences and what we think are important ways of using our resources for the benefit of future generations,” Truman shared.