NEW YORK, November 15, 2013 – AIPR Founder and President Fred Schwartz was recently awarded the 2013 Townsend Harris Medal for outstanding postgraduate achievement by the Alumni Association of The City College of New York/CUNY. Previous Townsend Harris Medalists include former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, Astronaut Mario Rancor, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Schwartz accepted the Harris Medal at the 133rd Annual CUNY Alumni Dinner, held at the New York Hilton on November 7, 2013. “We need to hold up and elevate affordable education,” said Schwartz, referring to CUNY’s tradition of offering inexpensive, yet prestigious degrees. “The greatest resource we have,” he added, “is the human resource.”
Schwartz majored in industrial psychology at CUNY and graduated in 1953. He made his biggest mark in the business world as chairman and president of Fur Vault Inc., which was the preeminent retail fur company in the United States and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In the 1970s and 80s, Schwartz starred in many Fur Vault advertisements and was well known to American television and radio audiences as “Fred the Furrier.”
After retiring from business, Schwartz shifted his focus to social entrepreneurship. In 1995, Schwartz founded the Auschwitz Jewish Center, which offers visitors the opportunity to memorialize victims of the Holocaust through the study of the former Jewish life and culture of Oswiecim. Schwartz then founded the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation in Oswiecim, Poland, in 2005. AIPR acquired legal status as a 501(c)(3) in the United States in January 2007.