photo of David W. Schoner Jr. and Christopher Schoner with uarts logo and rainbow background

MODEL DAD: David W. Schoner Jr

David W. Schoner Jr., father to Christopher Schoner ’24 (Animation), is leading the Parent and Family Council into the future.

You could say Schoner is more than an actively involved parent of a rising senior at UArts: He’s actually a UArts superbooster. As associate director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, Schoner has long been involved with both the arts community and his children’s school district, where he serves on the Cedar Grove Board of Education in New Jersey. 

Today, as chair of UArts’ Parent and Family Council, he leads a group of parents and guardians of current students dedicated to advancing the university’s mission through enrollment, fundraising, and awareness-building. 

When his first child applied to art schools on the East Coast, Schoner recognized that UArts was special right away. Schoner and his son attended an event on campus and asked if Christopher could be a “freshman for a day.” By the time they had driven back to their home in northern New Jersey, an Admissions officer had already left a message with a date and time for the visit. Struck by UArts’ responsive staff and hyper-nurturing environment, Schoner was ready to enroll his son and hit the ground running as an active parent. 

“I’ve always found that the best way to accomplish things is to get very tactile, so I just started by doing what I could,” he said. 

Schoner became a member of the Parent and Family Council when his son was a freshman, and he joined a group of highly motivated parents and guardians who liked to take the same approach. From engaging admitted parents event during the recruitment process to hosting a Bands and Beer Garden event during UArts Weekend, the Parent and Family Council has been a vital part of UArts’ success over the years. 

Any free time, any vacation time, I make the drive down to Philadelphia. I’m here because I love it.”

Beyond his efforts on the council, Schoner took it upon himself to encourage students from local school systems to visit UArts, take classes, or attend performances on campus—at times by the busload. To date, at least six students have discovered UArts as a result of his efforts and then chose to enroll. 

Schoner likes that the council is a way to stay connected (but not interfere with his child’s day-to-day life), promote, and advance UArts—and beyond that, help nurture opportunities for working artists. 

“Artists are special,” he said. “They are really a different breed of person as far as I am concerned. And the artist community runs deep—you want to help other artists because they, too, are different from others.” 

For the upcoming school year, Schoner aims to grow the annual UArtist Day of Giving and achieve record fundraising totals. He will continue to interact with current and prospective parents, answering questions and supporting their experiences at UArts. He also plans to bring more high school students to campus to see what UArts has to offer. 

In the meantime, you can probably expect to see Schoner on campus for events any given weekend. 

“Any free time, any vacation time, I make the drive down to Philadelphia. I like to say that I drank the Kool-Aid, and I’m here because I love it.”