Swensen Sees Strength in Stevens

Trustee Scott Swensen ’74 takes an aspirational view of his alma mater.

As a Stevens trustee, Scott Swensen looks forward to a certain moment every spring. “For me, the most moving thing is watching commencement and seeing thousands of students getting their degrees, and knowing they are prepared to make a difference in the world and build a solid life for themselves and their families. That makes me feel good about the time and money I’ve put in to help this university grow.”

Scott’s history with Stevens dates to when he grew up hearing stories from his father, John Swensen ’51. “My father raved about Stevens,” Scott said, “He was quite successful, so I ended up applying. I went for early admission, and they took me.”

During his own time at Castle Point, Scott stayed busy, including editing The Stute student newspaper. He also worked one semester in a fusion lab, and during his senior year, he and a team stratified-charged a Wankel engine to gauge its impact upon thermal efficiency. “When I was here, we all had to go through mechanical labs. I really believe the practical, hands-on experience students get here differentiates us from other universities.”

After earning his degree, Scott launched a successful career in finance that started at Chase Manhattan and culminated in his founding Conduit Capital Partners, which has managed equity funds focused on energy and infrastructure in Latin American markets.

Coinciding with winding down his business dealings, Scott became a Stevens trustee in 2014 after getting to know President Farvardin and feeling motivated from reading the university’s strategic plan. “The board developed a plan, it’s being implemented, and we’ve made tremendous progress in getting where we want to go.”

As someone who traveled extensively during his career and worked in many fields, Scott has a broad view of how an empowered Stevens can benefit the economy. “There’s no question that the United States fails to graduate enough engineers. Engineers create, they invent, they produce things, and by giving to Stevens and helping to create many different types of engineers, we’re benefitting our students and the U.S. economy.”

With his wife, Scott established the Cynthia S. and J. Scott Swenson Classroom inside the Gateway Academic Center. He remains bullish about the university reaching new heights. “I would like Stevens’ reputation to be at the top. If we focus on being student-centric and innovative, Stevens will be one of the top universities in the United States.”