In Memory of Steve Schwarze

Steve Schwarze smiles at the camera.

The University of Montana community mourns the passing of beloved UM Professor Steve Schwarze. Steve started at the University of Montana in August 2000 in the Department of Communication Studies where he remained for his entire academic career.  Steve had a profound impact on our campus and UM is a better place because of his contributions.  

Steve was a passionate advocate for students, the environment, and justice at UM, and he engaged heavily throughout his career in service to the University. He mentored dozens of graduate students and hundreds of undergraduate students. Steve received numerous awards for his teaching, and in 2018 was awarded one of the most prestigious honors given by the University of Montana, the Robert T. Pantzer Presidential Humanitarian Award. This award marked his career-long contributions to making the University “a more open and humane learning environment.”  In letters supporting his nomination for the award, faculty, students, and staff described Steve as “a poster child of integrity and leadership,” “a bright spot,” “a pillar of our community,” “a guiding light” and “a collaborative spirit.” 

Steve was also a highly respected and award-winning scholar in environmental communication. His publications influenced the direction and focus of the field, and his articles and books won numerous accolades. After his diagnosis of colon cancer, his research interests turned toward the disease and identifying research and treatment options to extend the lives of those with colon cancer. He became the director of Clinical Trials Programming for the organization Colontown. Even while battling his own disease, he found ways to improve the lives of those around him, and members of Colontown looked to him as a leader and friend.  Steve’s efforts to translate research for the betterment of others marked his career and, indeed, his life.

Steve's family and friends have created the Steve Schwarze Lecture Series Fund to honor his legacy as an educator at the University of Montana. Memorial gifts to this fund can be made online or sent to the UM Foundation, PO Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807.