Class of 2004
Gerald Schwartz is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba and was born in 1940. He received his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Manitoba, and his M.B.A. degree from Harvard University. Schwartz co-founded CanWest Global Communications Inc. in 1977, only to follow it with an equally impressive achievement, the founding of Onex Corporation in 1983.
As Chairman and CEO, Gerald Schwartz has expanded Onex into a global corporation and one of North America’s most successful private equity firms. In over 24 years, Onex has completed more than 210 acquisitions. Its principal businesses include electronic manufacturing services (Celestica), movie exhibition (Loews Cineplex), customer management services (ClientLogic), metal engineered buildings (MAGNATRAX) and automotive parts (Dura Automotive and J.L. French Aluminum Castings).
In addition to his accomplishments at Onex, Gerald Schwartz is a Vice Chairman and member of the Executive Committee of Mount Sinai Hospital, an Honorary Director of The Bank of Nova Scotia, and a director of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. He has developed a reputation as a steadfast supporter of the State of Israel, with Z Magazine calling him “one of Canada's leading Israel lobbyists.”
Gerald Schwartz has given of both his time and money to a wide variety of causes, yet it is his commitment to education that stands as a true inspiration. The Gerald Schwartz School of Business and Information Systems at St. Francis Xavier University is named in his honour, in recognition of his donations to the University. He has also supported a unique exchange program between the University of Waterloo, Canada and the University of Haifa, Israel.
In 2005, Gerald Schwartz was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2006 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Gerald is married to Heather Reisman, Chief Executive of Indigo Books and Music. Together they reside in Toronto, Ontario and have four grown children and seven grandchildren.