Donor Stories

A Gift for the Future

Bob '48 and Lynn Schwartz
Growing up during the Great Depression, money was tight, which caused financial strain for many families. Bob Schwartz '48 collected paper and iron to sell to the junkman, and developed a desire for a secure and successful life. "A Punahou education," Bob declares, "gives you a strong foundation for college and beyond."
Because of their deep appreciation for Punahou and their desire to help others, it was a natural decision for Bob and his wife, Lynn, to leave a bequest for the benefit of Punahou students to provide financial aid in perpetuity.

Bob entered Punahou in seventh grade. He enjoyed playing volleyball and surfing in Waikiki, and, like many Punahou students, he worked in the pineapple fields for 28 cents per hour to support the industry during the war. However, his fondest school memories are of the people who helped shape his future.

Bob spent his junior year of high school at New Mexico Military Academy to prepare him for the U.S. Army, and was active in Punahou's ROTC corps. He continued with ROTC at the University of Hawai'i – Manoa, and when he transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He went into the Army Reserves and was later activated during the Korean War. Bob's interest in technology and his degree in industrial management led him to work for defense industry leaders like North American Rockwell, Solar Turbines Incorporated and Hughes Aircraft Company.

Bob met Lynn in Missouri. They settled in La Mesa, California, and raised three children – sons Gregory and Douglas, and daughter Meryl – all of whom graduated from the University of California – Los Angeles, and now have advanced degrees. In retirement, Bob and Lynn have used their education and experiences to improve other people's lives. Bob's leadership while on the San Diego mayor's committee identified over $300 million in savings for the city. Through Lynn's involvement with the American Association of University Women, she encourages low-income young women to pursue higher education through a technology summer program at the University of California – San Diego. She frequently visits elementary schools dressed as American writer and activist Betty Friedan to talk about the importance of education.

Nearly 20 years ago, Bob and Lynn decided to name several institutions as beneficiaries of their estate plan. When they learned that they should inform those organizations of their philanthropic intent, they contacted Punahou School, working closely with the development staff to articulate a plan to provide endowed support to students with financial need. For Bob's 65th reunion, they made the first contribution to their fund so they could see its impact during their lifetimes.

"Without a good education it is difficult to find success," Bob says. "Education is so important and it's something that can't be taken away from you."