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OHIO Eastern Associate Professor retires after 23 years of service

Paula McMurray-Schwarz, who served as the associate professor of Early Childhood Education, retired May 15, 2022, after 23 years of service to the University.

McMurray-Schwarz began her Ohio University career in August of 1999 when she was hired to facilitate the implementation of the early childhood education licensure program on the Eastern campus. During her tenure she has served on numerous campus committees, including faculty chair.  Professionally, she has contributed her research findings to over twenty-five academic publications and shared her breadth of knowledge through presentations at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

“Paula’s legacy is widespread throughout the Ohio Valley. You can see this in the vibrant early childhood classrooms our graduates lead and through the career trajectories of the countless faculty members Paula has mentored over the years,” shared Assistant Professor of Education, Jacqueline Yahn. “It has been my absolute privilege to call her a colleague for the past nine years, but also to build a friendship with her that will last a lifetime.”

McMurray-Schwarz is viewed by her students and colleagues as a professor who has high expectations but is also approachable, available, and fair.  A fellow colleague shared, “Paula is a professor who strives to optimize each student’s maximum potential by guiding, elevating and supporting the individual needs of each student.”

McMurray-Schwarz commitment to advancing the educational opportunities for the OHIO Eastern campus and surrounding Ohio Valley community are evident.  She has dedicated her time, serving the community as a member of over 50 professional organizations, review boards and committees during her faculty tenure, including serving in three different appointed positions in the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators from 2002 – 2011.

“I met Paula twenty-two years ago.  Her first year at OHIO Eastern, she placed an intern in my classroom.  From that point on I had the pleasure of learning from her.  The contributions Paula has made in the Ohio Valley in terms of Early Childhood Education is immeasurable.  She has touched the lives of countless on OHIO alumni and in turn changed the lives of countless students in our local communities.  I have worked with Paula for the past nine years as a colleague at OHIO, in which time she has taught me a great deal.  Anyone who is lucky enough to have learned from Paula is a better person because of it.  I am blessed to call her my colleague as well as my friend.”

Not only has McMurray-Schwarz mentored her colleagues, but she has also served as an Education Program advisor in since 1991, providing guidance and support for undergraduate and graduate students studying Early Childhood Education at Ohio University and Iowa State University.

“The best memory I have from my time teaching on the Eastern campus was working with students and colleagues,” McMurray-Schwarz shared.  “Our small campus has always felt like a family to me.  Everyone encourages and supports each other.”

She gave one last piece of advice for students upon her departure, “Build strong, positive relationships with your students and focus on student learning, then everything else will fall into place.”