During his remarks the president praised Schwartz for her Buddy Art Program, which provides artistic instruction for children with special needs, and which, he said, "allows special needs kids to be completely accepted, creating an environment where they can express themselves freely and build relationships that may not have otherwise been available to them."
Schwartz has been a staff member of the College since 1999, and received a service award for her work in the community during employee appreciation day in 2009. She works with the office of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness which, according to its website, "promotes rigorous self-regulation and continuous improvement within the College and the academy." Additionally, she serves on the board of the Williamsburg-based This Century Art Gallery, where she is also a participating artist.
This Century Art Gallery is also where Schwartz founded the Buddy Art Program in the spring of 2008. Buddy Art provides art programs for children with special needs by pairing its participants with a "buddy," typically a volunteer from the community or a William & Mary student. To this end, the College's Sharpe Community Scholars program has worked very closely with Buddy Art since its inception, with numerous Sharpe scholars volunteering as buddies and taking part in the art activities put in place by Schwartz.
Reveley drew heavily on testimonies from various Sharpe scholars for his remarks, telling Schwartz that the volunteers "rave about you, Karen, and the program." Following the president's speech Schwartz was awarded $500 to donate toward a service agency of her choosing. The money is typically awarded as part of the President's Award, which every year honors one staff member and one student. This year's student winner was Will Morris '11.