Gary Schulze was a member of the first contingent of Peace Corps Volunteers to go to Sierra Leone in 1962 shortly after Independence. He introduced Sierra Leone History into the curriculum at Albert Academy for the first time and helped the late Dr. M.C. F. Easmon establish the Sierra Leone National Museum. The statue of Bai Bureh he commissioned in 1962 appears on the Le 1,000 note. He made the model of the DeRuiter stone and excavated ancient pottery at Bunumbu, all of which are still on display in the museum. His album, “Music of the Mende of Sierra Leone” recorded on-site in the Bumpe Chiefdom is still available from the Smithsonian Institution.
Following his Peace Corps service he returned to New York and completed a Master’s Degree at Columbia University in international affairs with an essay titled, “Constitutional and Political Developments in Sierra Leone, 1947-1957” In 1965 he was recruited by Pittsburgh Plate Glass as the first Personnel & Safety Superintendent for Sherbro Minerals (now Sierra Rutile), and spent the next two years two years at Mobimbi in the Imperri Chiefdom. In 1994 Gary again visited the country and traveled throughout the provinces during the rebel war looking for an old friend who had retired to his village in the Bumpe Chiefdom. It was at this time that he met the current President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, who was then Vice-Chair of the NPRC..
Gary returned to Sierra Leone in 1996 to serve as an International Observer at the Presidential and Legislative Elections which restored democracy to Sierra Leone. He is Vice President of “The Magic Penny” (an organization devoted to improving the lives of the people in the Kagboro Chiefdom of Sierra Leone), serves on the board of “Friends of Sierra Leone” (FOSL) and provides financial support to NGOs in Bo and Kenema. He is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Sierra Leone Studies.
In 2013, he was installed in a ceremony at Shenge by Paramount Chief Charles Caulker, Chairman of the Council of Paramount Chiefs, as Honorary Paramount Chief Pieh Gbabior Caulker II of Kagboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District for his contributions to the chiefdom. That same year he discovered the only known photograph of the famous warrior, Bai Bureh, and presented it to the people of Sierra Leone as a gift.
In 2014 he was installed as an Officer of The Order of the Rokel (OOR) by President Ernest Bai Koroma “in recognition of his tremendous contribution to the development of Education and the History and Culture of Sierra Leone.”
Gary has shown a life-time interest in Albert Academy. In 2011 he was given a “Who’s Who Award” by the AA Alumni Association and in 2017 the Freetown AA Board made him an “Honorary Academician” in a ceremony at the school.
In 2018 Gary commissioned the famous Sierra Leonean artist Alusine Bangura to paint a mural on the wall of the National Museum in Freetown based on the original Bai Bureh photograph. The painting, illuminated by a solar light, was unveiled in an official ceremony by the Minister of Tourism & Cultural Affairs. He also commissioned portraits of Bai Bureh, Madame Yoko and Sengbe Pieh on the walls of the Big Market in Freetown. This year he funded portraits of Sir Milton Margai and Dr. M.C.F. Easmon on the outside wall of the museum which were unveiled in a ceremony presided over by the Mayor of Freetown.
In 2018 he became a Naturalized Citizen of Sierra Leone in a ceremony at State House.
He was awarded the 2018 “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Sierra Leonean organization, All Walks of Life (AWOL U.S.A), and the “Mansa Musa Award” by the Madingo Society of North America for his contributions to Sierra Leone
Gary serves on the Advisory Board of the Sierra Leone Ambassador & Plenipotentiary to the United States, the Honorable Sidique Abubakar Wai.