C. William Schwab ’68, P’93, MD


C. William “Bill” Schwab graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors from the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. 


Upon graduation, he entered medical school and married his college sweetheart Marjorie Anne Rooke ’69, a graduate of the School of Music. Bill joined the United States Navy in 1970 as a medical student, trained as a military surgeon during the Viet Nam conflict and served on active duty for ten years. Bill saw first-hand the ravages of war and the need to improve care for the critically wounded. Those experiences changed his life and directed his career to academic medicine and surgery. In 1987, Bill was appointed as Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and Founding Chief of the trauma center and the academic division of trauma surgery, positions he holds to the current day.  


Bill Schwab has many claims to fameHe is perhaps best known as one of the chief architects of the Damage Control Surgery, an approach to treating life-threatening injuries that first came to prominence in the 1990s, and which has now become a mainstay and standard for trauma care worldwide. Nevertheless, he is equally respected for his long and steadfast contributions to military medicine and efforts to reduce the toll of gun violence in the United StatesBill is internationally recognized as a master surgeon, renowned teacher, and academic thought leader. He has served as a consultant or advisor to numerous governmental agencies including the Center for Disease Control, Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and the National Academy of Medicine.   


Bill and Marjorie’s daughter, Jennifer 93, graduated from the Park School of Communication and married an IC alum, Sam Medina ’92, School of Business. Bill and Marge have been patrons of the schools of Music and Humanities and Sciences for decades. They established the Heinz and Judy Koch Research Scholarship program to support undergraduate research in fundamental science. Marjorie chaired the initial campaign to create the Whalen Center for Music and to expand the teaching and performance resources throughout the school.  


Bill was the 1988 Ithaca College commencement speaker. He joined the College's board of trustees in 1989, serving in numerous leadership positions and as chair from 2006 to 2012. Bill’s strongest areas of impact have been on campus growth and elevating academic excellence. His constant presence in the early planning initiatives of the 1990s and to the present day shaped the South Hill campus of today. Bill continues to serve Ithaca College as an emeritus Chair of the board. Bill was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree from Ithaca College in 2021 for "his lifetime of service to humanity in the field of surgical trauma care and for his leadership and vision in the service of educational excellence at Ithaca College." 


Bill is joining his family as an Alumni Award winner this year. His wife and college sweetheart, Marjorie, class of ‘69, won the Bredbenner Award in 1999. Bill’s son-in-law, Samuel Medina, class of ‘92 won the Outstanding Young Alumni award in 2002.