Stephen Schwartz, a well-known University of Washington pathologist and vocal participant in faculty discussions about university politics, died Tuesday after being hospitalized with COVID-19 infection, the university announced Wednesday.

Dr. Schwartz, 78, had been a member of the Department of Pathology since 1967, which he joined as a resident. He was a postdoctoral trainee before joining the faculty as an assistant professor in 1973, Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine, said in a letter to colleagues.

Dr. Schwartz had a distinguished career as an investigator in the field of vascular biology, and “is rightfully considered a giant amongst investigators of the biology of smooth muscle cells and the structure of blood vessels,” Ramsey wrote. Dr. Schwartz was an established investigator of the American Heart Association, founding chair of the Gordon Research Conference on vascular biology and a co-founder of the North American Vascular Biology Organization.

“This has become all too real,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said, of Dr. Schwartz’s death, on Facebook. She described Mr. Schwartz as “larger than life,” and posted a photo of him superimposed in front of Mount Rainier.

Dr. Schwartz held strong opinions about the way the university was run, and was well-known for expressing them with candor in a faculty-wide online discussion board. On his personal blog, he aired opinion pieces on subjects like the importance of faculty tenure and took on American politicians from a decidedly liberal perspective.

“Dr. Schwartz has left a lasting imprint on the UW School of Medicine and the broader scientific community,” Ramsey wrote. “He will be greatly missed.”


Editor’s note: A comment thread was mistakenly placed on this story. It since been removed.