As far as Ernest Schaub ’72 is concerned, America is indeed the land of opportunity. Growing up as one of five children living in New York City public housing, Schaub dreamed of a time when his family could live in comfort. “Neither of my parents graduated from high school, but they placed a great value on education and instilled that in me and my siblings,” he says.
Two things fell in Schaub’s favor: he was blessed with intellect and his parents’ strong work ethic. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, he went on to study history at Southern Connecticut State University.
“I was too young to be in college,” he admits. As is the case with many 16-year-old boys, Schaub was easily distracted, and his first foray into higher education produced less-than-ideal results. “When you’re undertaking a big expense such as higher education, you want to make sure your focus is 100 percent on the task,” Schaub says. He left after a year to work full time for AVCO Lycoming in Stratford.
“Lycoming had a government facility, and we were in the midst of the Vietnam War,” says Schaub. “There was clearly a lot of opportunity there, which I appreciated.” He attended an engineering institute in Bridgeport at night and received his associate degree.
His aspiration for a rewarding career and comprehensive education led him to UNH, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1972. “The University of New Haven had just what I wanted in a college,” says Schaub. “It was – and still is – a good school. The industrial engineering students were a fairly small group of people who were all interested in learning. Our instructors were all working in the industry and valued an experiential education.”
With that experience and education in his pocket, Schaub sought more challenging opportunities at work and found what he needed at B.F. Goodrich. When an advancement opportunity emerged, Schaub and his family moved to Ohio, where he earned his MBA from Case Western Reserve University. “We loved everything about Ohio,” he says. “It was the perfect fit for our family.” At Goodrich, he rose easily through the ranks of the company’s industrial and aerospace operations, attaining positions of increasing responsibility.
He ultimately became executive vice president of Goodrich Corporation and chief operating officer of the Engineered Industrial Products segment. When Goodrich spun off Industrial Products as a public company, he finished his stellar career at EnPro, where he served as chief executive officer from 2002 to 2008.
After retiring, Schaub turned his focus to community service, serving on several boards, including his undergraduate alma mater. He currently serves on the UNH Board of Governors and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree at the 2008 Winter Commencement.
For a man who believes so strongly in the importance of education and its accessibility, these opportunities are priceless. “I was fortunate in my life in that I recognized my second chances and used them,” he says. “The chance to go back to college? That was like getting a mulligan in golf. UNH enabled me to open the first door to what was a very rewarding career.”