Dietrich E.O. von Schwerdtner

"Mr. Von,” as he was known to Peddie youngsters, came to the school in 1965 to take over the reins of the lacrosse program. In short order, Peddie was competing successfully with the best teams in the state. 

Along with Coaches Steve Jacobson (Fairlawn, Hunterdon Central) and Gil Gibbs (Montclair), Von was instrumental in raising New Jersey lacrosse to a new level of respect in the eyes of college coaches throughout the country.

But it was always Peddie that had first claim on Con’s interest and efforts. He enjoyed the way in which boy new to the school and to the sport learned to play with such commitment and skill as to contend equally with those from much larger schools where boys were introduced to lacrosse far earlier. In his words, “How proud I am of them! Invariably giving away clear advantages in lacrosse experience and athletic ability, Peddie teams were marked by such uncommon determination that they usually battled their opponents on surprisingly equal terms. Our 99-68 record and two division championships are tributes to them.”

Thanks to one of Von’s “boys,” head coach Bob Turco ‘70, Peddie Lacrosse today is respected nationally. 

What marked Von as special to many Peddie boys and girls was that - as enthusiastic as he was about lacrosse - he was even more concerned about them as people. Whether you sat in his class, lived on his hall, were one of his many advisees or “none of the above,” he was there for you. “Step into my office,” he would say, guiding the needy student to a quiet place in the hall, and empty table in the student center, out to the baseball stands, or on a walk well away from the hustle and bustle of the campus.

He also introduced computing to Peddie, both administratively and academically. “It’s not that I ever wanted to learn anything about computing;” he said, “but, because our students needed to, I just fell into it.”