By Halle Johnson
CEDARVILLE — For Stanley Schwartz, a 2018 graduate, Cedarville felt like home.
So, when he jetted off to Australia for a Fulbright Scholar research project postgraduation, the idea of returning to Ohio always lingered in the back of his mind. But he never imagined that one email would bring him back to Cedarville University and teaching college students just five years later.
Schwartz, originally from Noblesville, Indiana, double majored in economics and history. His studies, along with being part of Cedarville’s Model U.N. team and Tau Delta Kappa honors organization, gave him the interest in pursuing a Fulbright research scholarship postgraduation.
“While in college I knew that I wanted to work in academia,” said Schwartz. “I had always thought I might come back to Cedarville eventually … like in 35 years!”
Yet, when Dr. Murry Murdoch retired in 2022 after 56 years of teaching in the history and government department, Dr. Mark Caleb Smith, chair of the department, began his search for a replacement. Schwartz sent an email to Smith to support his former professor in his quest for a faculty replacement.
“I just wrote to say that I hoped they would find someone great to fill the position,” said Schwartz. “Next thing I know he is telling me to apply for the job. I never expected to get the job. And in every round of interviews, I thought I would be cut. It was not until the campus visit that I realized I might actually be hired.”
Filling the hole Murdoch left is no small task, but Schwartz was up to the challenge.
Schwartz was accepted into the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship program as a postgraduate scholar, a role traditionally filled by master’s or doctoral candidates. Through the program, he spent a year in Canberra, Australia, working on a research proposal dealing with Australian labor politics.
“Australia was a learning experience both for my academics and my faith,” said Schwartz. “My time at Cedarville felt like an easy transition, familiar… and Australia was very unfamiliar! I went from living in Rickard all four years to moving halfway around the globe completely on my own.”
Moving to Australia was a culture shock in more ways than one.
“My church in Australia was very small, only about 25 people,” said Schwartz. “I went from four years in a town very saturated with believers to knowing almost no other Christians. While in Canberra, I went to an annual evangelical conference with about 2,000 people. During worship a man leaned over to me and said, “Have you ever been in a room worshipping with this many people?” and it really hit me how amazing chapel at Cedarville is — five days a week, with 4,000 students worshipping together! He was marveling at a rare experience that to me was familiar.”
In 2019, after completing his Fulbright Scholarship, Schwartz enrolled in a dual master’s and Ph.D. program at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he started writing his dissertation. Inspired by his studies in Australia, Schwartz became interested in U.S. military and foreign policymaking in the late 19th century, a project that he hopes to turn into a full-length book. Currently, Schwartz is working full-time as an assistant professor in the history and government department while finishing his dissertation, which he hopes to have completed within the year.
“It has been a busy start, but I am looking forward to becoming even more involved in the Cedarville community once my Ph.D. is completed,” said Schwartz. “Things have changed at Cedarville since I graduated, but the things I loved have stayed the same. It is a close-knit department of faculty and students who are strong believers, dedicated to excellence not only in the classroom but in every aspect of life.”
Schwartz’s welcome to the department was like coming home.