IN MEMORIAM: MARTIN SCHWARTZ | Department of Chemistry
January 7, 2019


Martin Schwartz, a professor of chemistry at the University of North Texas, passed away Wednesday, December 26, in Lewisville of an unknown medical condition. He was 72.

Schwartz was an internationally recognized physical chemist whose expertise in molecular dynamics included rotational relaxation and reorientation phenomena as examined by Raman, NMR, and IR spectroscopies. More recent professional interests included electronic structure calculations on the thermochemical properties and reaction kinetics of haloalkanes, halocarbenes, and organometallic compounds. The data from these latter studies provided an enhanced understanding of the molecular properties of molecules and their use in real-world applications of consumer interest.

He was an accomplished scholar and published over 125 peer-reviewed research articles in top-line journals that include the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy. He also directed or served on the committee of over 150 M.S. and Ph.D. students during his tenure at UNT, as well as serving as a mentor for scores of undergraduate and TAMS students. Many of these students have gone on to leadership positions in their chosen fields in academia and industry as a direct result of the encouragement and support they received while under the tutelage of Schwartz.

Schwartz was born on April 19, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York, but later moved with his family to Hollywood, Florida where he remained until leaving for college. He obtained a B.S. in chemistry from Case-Western Reserve University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. Schwartz spent the next two years at the University of Utah as a postdoctoral fellow working under the aegis of Professor C. H. Wang.

In 1974, he began his career at the University of North Texas as an assistant professor of chemistry, and he rose through the academic ranks to full professor in 1985. In 1993, he was awarded the distinction of Regents Professor for his excellent teaching, prodigious research contributions and significant extramural funding from The Robert A. Welch Foundation and the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. In 2018, Schwartz started a three-year appointment of modified service as a professor chemistry.

Schwartz was held in high esteem by his students and colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, having a sense of moral and ethical fairness that helped shape and guide the department throughout his tenure at UNT. Former students and junior colleagues remember him for his unwavering support, positive outlook on life, and his strong support for those less fortunate and disenfranchised by society.

Aside from his chemistry interests, Schwartz was an accomplished bridge player, and he loved his two cats Spooky and Saffy. He is survived by his sister Susan P. Schwartz of Pembroke Pines, FL and his brother Barry Schwartz and wife Sandy of Jefferson, NC, as well as by several nieces and nephews in North Carolina.

A student scholarship in Schwartz' name is planned in the College of Science. The family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Martin Schwartz Chemistry Scholarship and sent to the College of Science, UNT, Hickory Hall, Denton, TX 76203.