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Morrie Schwartz Biography


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Born to a Russian father, Schwartz grew up in the Jewish tenements in New York City. He took his undergraduate degree from City College in New York, and earned his Masters degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1946 and 1951 respectively. He wrote three books on sociology in the 1950s and 1960s. He began teaching at Brandeis University, in the sociology department. Among his students was future sportswriter and TV host Mitch Albom. Schwartz continued to teach at Brandeis into his 70s, until a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) made it too difficult for him to continue.

Morrie Schwartz wrote his own epitaph: "A Teacher to the Last." Born December 20, 1916, he graduated from New York's City College, and won a fellowship to the University of Chicago, where he earned both a master's and Ph.D. in sociology. In 1959, he began a lifelong career teaching sociology at Brandeis University.

He continued teaching classes after he was diagnosed with ALS at the age of seventy-six, incorporating what he was learning about the meaning of life as he faced impending death. When ABC-TV's "Nightline" producer heard of his classes, Ted Koppel flew to Boston for the first of three interviews with Morrie. The shows were among the highest rated ever for "Nightline."

Morrie Schwartz's final "class" with Mitch Albom was the week of his death. Morrie was seventy-nine. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, sons, Rob and Jon, and hundreds of former students whose lives he influenced.

Courtesy of: http://www.randomhouse.com

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