After an injury to his pitching arm which ended a contract to play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, Alan Schwartz went on to become a financial titan known for his grand slams on Wall Street. In 1976, Schwartz was 26 when he joined Bear Stearns as an institutional stock salesman. From there, he worked his way through the ranks at Bear Stearns, serving as executive vice president and head of investment banking, and eventually becoming the president and CEO of the company. During his tenure, Schwartz advised Michael Eisner on Disney's $19 billion purchase of CapitalCities/ABC. In 2009, following the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan Chase, Schwartz joined Guggenheim Securities, an investment banking firm based in Chicago and New York, where the veteran rainmaker currently serves as Executive Chairman. In addition to his banking duties, Schwartz has also been active in numerous professional and civic organizations, including the Robin Hood Foundation, American Foundation for AIDS Research, St. Vincent's Services, NYU Medical Center, New York Blood Center, and The National Mentoring Partnership.

However, when Schwartz arrived on the campus of Duke University in 1968, he never imagined a life in the banking sector. As a senior in high school on Long Island, Schwartz had been a highly regarded pitcher. He attended Duke University on a scholarship fashioned especially for him; at the time, the University did not offer scholarships for baseball players. As a Blue Devil, he made the ACC academic honor roll three times, only to suffer a career-ending injury after being drafted by a Major League Baseball team. In 1972, he graduated with a degree in business administration.

A generous benefactor, Schwartz still has strong ties to Duke. His name, for instance, is one of two on a six-story academic center for athletes on Duke's campus thanks to his previous $2.5 million gift to the university project. The former standout athlete has also served in multiple positions since graduating. Besides sitting on the board of trustees and athletic advisory board, in 2003 Schwartz was also named chairman of the board of visitors at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business for a three-year term. "Duke's Fuqua School of Business will benefit tremendously from Alan's leadership and professional acumen," said Fuqua Dean Douglas T. Breeden at the time. "I am deeply grateful that he has agreed to serve as... [we] strengthen Fuqua's position as a leader in education and research worldwide."