Teresa And David Schmidt Create The LCPL Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Endowed Professorship In History At Texas Christian University
SAN ANTONIO - Teresa and Dr. David Schmidt today announced the creation of the LCpl Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Endowed Professorship in History at Texas Christian University. The endowment honors their late son, a Marine sniper, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan on Oct. 6, 2011. The couple launched the endowment with a personal contribution of $100,000 and will lead an effort to raise $1 million to endow the professorship.
“When we lost Benjamin we had a choice,” said David Schmidt, who has served as the Spurs team physician for 20 years. “We could sit still and fill our days with pity and anger or we could figure out a way to honor our son. In recognition of his service to his country, his passion for history and his love for TCU, this was an easy decision. We’re excited that Benjamin will have a positive impact on generation after generation of students. We believe this endowment will help keep his spirit alive.”
After graduating from Alamo Heights High School, Benjamin Schmidt enrolled at TCU. During his sophomore year he made the decision to withdraw from school and, in turn, joined the Marines. Following sniper school he twice volunteered to go to Afghanistan, first to gain combat experience and then to lead a group of inexperienced Marine snipers who had never been in combat. Prior to his second deployment Schmidt decided that upon his return to the States he would retire from the Marines, re-enroll at TCU and become a professor of history.
On Sept. 11, 2011, while on his second tour in Afghanistan, Schmidt posted the following message on his Facebook page, “I guess you can use today as a reason for us to be here in Afghanistan. Just know I am fighting for myself, but most of all for my friends and family who read this. Everyone, it’s an honor to be your ambassador.”
Schmidt was killed on Oct. 6, 2011, while on sniper patrol, in the Helmand Province at the age of 24. After his death the Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Memorial Scholarship Fund was created at TCU. The fund was created at Benjamin’s request, based on a conversation with his father before his second deployment, and is open to graduate students in TCU’s history department. To date the scholarship fund has raised over $500,000.
“While we still live with pain on a daily basis it brings us great pleasure to honor Benjamin, first with the scholarship and now with the endowment,” said Schmidt. “Just as we are proud of the man he became, we know he’d be proud of us, his family and friends, for creating a lasting legacy in his name.”
Those wishing to support the endowment can send their memorials to LCpl Benjamin W. Schmidt Professorship, Office of University Development, Texas Christian University, TCU Box 297044, Fort Worth, TX 76129 or make a gift online at www.makeagift.tcu.edu designated to the Benjamin W. Schmidt Professorship.