MCCC Builds Firm Foundation for
Architect Gary Swartz


As a sixth-grader, Gary Swartz of Clementon, N.J., recalls his strong reaction to a housing development being built in his neighborhood. Commercial developers seemed in his mind to be clear-cutting building tracts and creating new communities without much regard for the environment. Swartz was thinking "green" even before the term became popular.

"I thought that I could design more earth-sensitive housing," said Swartz, who today works as a project manager at Granary Associates, Inc., an internationally recognized architectural firm headquartered in Center City Philadelphia. "It came as a surprise a couple of years later when I realized the difference between an architect and a developer. Fascinated with design work, I had already chosen my career path as an architect."

Gary Swartz remains inspired by his
career in architecture.

As a project manager at Granary Associates, which specializes in hospitals and other healthcare projects worldwide, Swartz is actively engaged in writing and negotiating contracts, as well as coordinating project fees, budgets and manpower. He also works in Granary Associates' commercial division, where he has led a team of people on the conception and design of several commercial projects from start to finish. They recently completed a 72-unit condominium project known as 1352 Lofts on South Street in Philadelphia, which won a Design Award of Merit in High-Rise Construction from Mid-Atlantic Construction Magazine Best of 2007.

A graduate of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, Swartz decided to attend MCCC because of its highly regarded Architecture program. After earning his A.S. degree in Architecture in 1980, he was accepted at several four-year colleges, choosing the night program at Drexel University while working full-time in the architectural firm of Kanalstein-Danton Associates in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Other than a brief departure to work as an estimator/purchaser for a construction company, Swartz has not strayed from the architectural field. While acknowledging the hard work and long hours, he remains inspired by his field. "What excites me about architecture is the creative and talented people I get to work with side by side every day," he said.

Swartz recalls his many positive connections with both Mercer faculty and fellow students. "Marilyn Dietrich and David Roesseler were my studio instructors, and Marilyn actually recommended me for my first architectural job at the O'Connor Group. My psychology professor, Dr. George Colnaghi, made going to class a blast. He helped me understand things I already knew but never really thought about!" Swartz also made lifelong friends, with whom he remains in close contact.

"MCCC prepared me for the transition to an architectural office and matriculation into a four-year college," Swartz said. "I loved my experience at Mercer and have recommended it to many young people. I believe a two-year college does a great job of helping students transition to the demands of a four-year college or university."

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