My name is David G. Schwartz. I am a Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner and credentialed mediator with a focus on informal conflict resolution in higher education. Before exploring ombuds work, I was an academic faculty member with a research focus on gambling, gaming, Las Vegas, and hospitality history and administrator at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
I have written several books, including At the Sands: The Casino That Shaped Classic Las Vegas, Brought the Rat Pack Together, and Went Out With a Bang, Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas, Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, and Boardwalk Playground: The Making, Unmaking, & Remaking of Atlantic City. You can learn more on the Books page, or just click one of the books below to head to Amazon, if you like to cut to the chase.
In addition to my ombuds work, research, and writing, I have also taught in several areas, including History, Law, and Honors. In the past few years, I’ve developed a series of Honors seminars that have consistently engaged students in topics like conspiracy theories, the history of video games, jazz history, and the meaning of alternate history. Currently, I also indulge my love for teaching by leading interactive workshops on a range of conflict resolution topics.
I was born and raised in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and earned my bachelor’s degree (a double major in anthropology and history) as well as my master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania before receiving my doctorate in US History from UCLA.
How did I get first interested in studying gambling? Mostly because where I grew up, combined with my hands-on experience in the casino industry as a security officer, surveillance officer, and Mr. Peanut. I have found that my work as both an ombuds and mediator has drawn on my past as a historian studying gambling. If I wanted to make a pun, I would say that for those seeking help, a visit to the ombuds office is “high stakes,” but in all seriousness, I’ve found that both conflict resolution and gambling are, at their core, about confronting the unknown. Both, too, have elements of skill and random chance.