J. Alex Schwartz
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Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
August 28, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. — J. Alex Schwartz, an editor with an impressive record of success at top university publishing houses, including Yale and the University of Chicago, has been named director of Northern Illinois University Press, effective Tuesday, Sept. 4.
He will replace Mary Lincoln, who is retiring at the end of this week.
“Mary Lincoln has had a long and distinguished career with the NIU Press, where her work brought national recognition to the university, so we knew we had big shoes to fill,” said Rathindra Bose, NIU vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.
“Alex Schwartz will be an excellent fit for the university,” Bose added. “He comes highly recommended, brings strong publishing skills to NIU and has well established contacts in the university publishing community. At the University of Chicago Press, he was responsible for a number of book projects that resulted in best-sellers. We’re thrilled to have him at NIU.”
Schwartz has nearly 15 years of experience in publishing, having spent the last year as an executive editor in the business unit of McGraw-Hill, a major commercial publishing house where he acquired and developed new trade and professional books in finance.
The majority of his career, however, has been spent at university presses, including four years with the University of Chicago Press, where he was senior acquisitions editor for economics and law. He averaged 25 new book signings per year. Schwartz also worked as a senior acquisitions editor at Yale University Press.
“We were impressed with his background,” said NIU Distinguished Research Professor David Kyvig, who chaired the search committee.
“Alex has worked at more than one distinguished university press and brings extensive experience in manuscript acquisition,” Kyvig said. “He also has substantial experience in developmental editing, which is taking an idea and working with authors to turn it into a book. He has developed a lot of manuscripts into successful books.”
Schwartz also has been invited to speak as a guest lecturer at universities across the country on the topic of how to get published.
“We hope he will do some of that with our junior faculty here,” Kyvig said. “We think they could learn from Alex how to be effective in efforts to publish their books at university presses.”
Schwartz will continue to serve as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Chicago and lecture on fiction writing at an annual summer writers’ conference at Northwestern University. He holds a master’s degree in English from Western Connecticut State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Tufts University.
“The NIU Press has been very successful in key areas such as Russian history, regional history, American history and transportation,” he said. “We will continue to build on those successes while looking to new areas where we can increase our name recognition among scholars and boost the number of titles we publish.”
The NIU Press publishes non-fiction on a variety of topics in the humanities, arts and social sciences. The press has more than 400 books in print on aspects of history, politics, anthropology and literature.
“I’m excited about the opportunities we’ll have to bring in high quality, award-winning books,” Schwartz said. “I’m also excited about working at the university. I think it’s a tremendous institution with quality staff and students. NIU is going places, and I’m happy to be part of it.”