UC to Award Highest Honor to Former Nonprofit Leader

The University of Cincinnati will bestow its highest award, an honorary doctorate, to alumnus James E. Schwab during the university’s Dec. 10 Commencement ceremony. Schwab is a longtime member of the UC Foundation Board of Trustees and the former president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health, the largest health nonprofit in Greater Cincinnati. He will receive an Honorary Doctor of Commercial Science. 

Schwab recently announced his retirement from Interact for Health, the nonprofit organization formerly known as The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout the region. With a focus on advancing research, innovation and advocacy, Interact for Health provides funding and support to local partners seeking to make a direct impact on public health in the Greater Cincinnati area. Prior to joining Interact for Health in 2011, Schwab served as market president of U.S. Bank. 

Earlier in his career, Schwab held senior leadership positions with several prominent companies, including: Xtek; Great American Holding Corporation, an affiliate of American Financial Corporation; General Cable Corporation; Penn Central Corporation; Corporex Companies; and The Baldwin-United Corporation. Schwab also has been especially generous with his time and talent in serving on multiple nonprofit boards, including: the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Foundation, the Health Collaborative, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, the Center for Closing the Health Gap, Cradle Cincinnati, Great Parks of Hamilton County and TriHealth. He and his wife, Vivian, chaired the city-wide United Way Campaign in 2004 and the Arts Wave Campaign in 2006.  

Schwab has served on the UC Foundation Board of Trustee since 1994. For nearly a decade, he chaired UCF’s Operations Committee, in addition to serving on the Executive Committee and the Futures Task Force. Schwab’s longstanding philanthropic support for UC has provided crucial funding for student scholarships, academic programs and major medical initiatives. He and Vivian are members of the Charles McMicken Society, UC’s preeminent giving society. In recognition of his leadership and service to the university, Schwab received the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000 and the President’s Award for Excellence in 2003.  

He received his A.B. degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. 

Schwab is one of two recipients of honorary degrees at fall Commencement. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey will receive the other award.

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