Happy Belated Birthday, Andrew Jay Schwartzman

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Digital Beat

Happy Belated Birthday, Andrew Jay Schwartzman

Adrianne B. Furniss

At our 40th Anniversary celebration on April 6, we were delighted to honor Andrew Jay Schwartzman and celebrate his 75th birthday. If you are not familiar with Andy's work, he is known to his friends, colleagues, and mentees as the “dean” of the public interest communications bar—someone who has devoted his professional life to making the communications landscape better for us all.

Andy is the recent winner of the James Wilson Award, the highest honor the University of Pennsylvania Law Alumni Society bestows on its graduates—which, by coincidence, was timed perfectly to his 50th law school reunion. The James Wilson Award is presented each year to a member of the alumni community in honor of a lifetime of service in the profession.

Andy's career has been long and impactful. Since 2014, Andy has served as the Benton Senior Counselor, providing the Institute—and the field—invaluable legal insight into key communications debates. From 2014 through 2019, he was on the faculty of the Communications & Technology Law Clinic at the Georgetown University Law Center. From 1978 through 2012, Andy was President and CEO of the Media Access Project (MAP), a pioneering, nonprofit, public interest telecommunications law firm that represented the public and promoted First Amendment rights. From 1971-1974, he was Staff Counsel to the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, becoming one of the first public interest lawyers specializing in media and communications while helping to obtain and then enforce rules prohibiting broadcasters from discriminating by race and gender in employment and in programming.

One of the major themes of our April 6 event was the importance of community. In that vein, many members of the public interest community stepped up to share their insights on Andy’s enormous impact on the field and on them personally in this video.


In addition, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), himself a longtime communications policy champion, recorded a special message to Andy.


Andy graciously accepted the much-deserved applause that evening and said:

Andrew Jay Schwartzman

Benton has made it possible for me to continue the mentoring that I was able to do with law students during my 35 years at the Media Access Project.

I am an OK, even a pretty good lawyer. But I am not a great lawyer. If I have any special talent, it is identifying promising students and young lawyers and teaching them to be much better lawyers than I will ever be.

I am extremely proud of how many public interest lawyers, public officials, and academics I have helped train. I accept your plaudits on behalf of them all.

Happy birthday, Andy. We are so thankful for all you have done to advance public interest communications policy—and so excited that we can continue to work together to achieve broadband’s full promise and potential. 

Additional Content from the Celebration

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.

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Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

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By Adrianne B. Furniss.