For Andy Schwab '93, life has always been about building and being a part of a team. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was drawn to Davidson because of the combination of Division I athletics and strong academics. The college offered him the opportunity to balance soccer with his interest in genetics and ethics, a major he created through the college's Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
A part of the successful final four team in the 1992 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, Schwab has joined his teammates to make a significant contribution to the Final Four Men's Soccer Scholarship at Davidson. His recent $250,000 gift will more than double the impact of the scholarship.
In addition, the team envisions an effort to grow the endowment to more than $1 million by the end of the college's current Game Changers campaign, and Schwab hopes his gift will serve as a catalyst for others to become involved.
"As we thought about creating the scholarship, the team nature of the effort was always most important," he said. "Just as you have your star scorers and goalies and off-the-bench players, scholarships are the same way. There are people who will contribute more and in visible ways, and some that play a different role in moving the project forward. We're all working together, just as we did at Davidson."
The team envisions the scholarship having a long-term impact on the program and an immediate effect on recruitment efforts. Every scholar athlete brings different strengths to the classroom and the field, and the alumni are excited to have a hand in helping Davidson create the strongest team possible.
"As far removed as 1992 is for kids today, the tie-back to our team is meaningful," said Schwab. "It shows them that the experience at Davidson is about team, commitment, relationships and success -- all the things that are important to a student athlete."
Valeriy Sviderskiy '16, from Richmond, Virginia, has benefited from the generosity of donors to the Final Four Men's Soccer Scholarship.
"Playing soccer at Davidson has allowed me to combine my passion for the sport I love with rigorous academics, all while building relationships that will last throughout my entire life," he said. "It means a lot that the alumni who graduated well before I got here still care about seeing the team succeed, and their support enables us to recruit the best players possible."
Because of the financial support he receives, Sviderskiy feels called to give back to the Davidson community. He stresses that it is his "duty to give back" any chance he can, whether he's volunteering at the Davidson Farmer's Market, leading kids on International Walk to School Day or participating in any other opportunities Head Coach Matt Spear '93 sends his way.
Today, Schwab is a founder and managing partner of 5AM Ventures in San Francisco. Prior to founding 5AM in 2002, Schwab was a principal at Bay City Capital. His previous positions also include vice president of business development at Digital Gene Technologies and vice president in the life science investment banking group of Montgomery Securities.
Schwab has hired interns from Davidson to work at 5AM Ventures, and he values the skills they bring to the organization.
"The liberal arts education is really meaningful, and I'm a big believer," he said. "I'm in the science field with incredible MDs and PhDs who've been to the top universities in the world, but the liberal arts education is different and is driven by communication skills. I look back now on Davidson experiences and have great appreciation. Other people may have spent more time in chemistry labs or with textbooks, but Davidson students have the ability to articulate what they know, and that is incredibly important in the real world. I now know that's not what everyone else gets to experience."
Those special experiences are exactly what the donors to the Final Four Men's Soccer Scholarship are trying to pass on to scholar athletes who can contribute to their team and to the greater Davidson community.