About Dr. Velma E. Schmidt

Dr. Velma E. Schmid

Dr. Velma E. Schmidt was an early childhood educator whose career spanned over 50 years. Born and raised in Nebraska, Dr. Schmidt graduated in 1948 from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska. Upon graduation, she held elementary teaching positions in Kansas, Illinois and California. She earned Master's and Doctorate Degrees in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nebraska. In 1957, Dr. Schmidt returned to her alma mater at Seward and served as Dean of Women and later as an Associate Professor of Education. Dr. Schmidt also taught at the University of Nebraska until she took a consultant position in the early childhood program for the state of Nebraska department of education. In 1970, Dr. Schmidt joined the faculty at the University of North Texas, Denton as an Associate Professor and as the director of early childhood education. She became a full professor in 1972.

Dr. Schmidt was recognized both nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of early childhood education. She received numerous awards throughout her distinguished career. In 1973 Dr. Schmidt was named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Denton Area Association for the Education of Young Children and was the first woman in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod to be nominated for the position of President of Concordia College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Receiving an honorary doctor of letters in 1975 from Concordia College, that same year, Dr. Schmidt was also honored as the Denton, Texas, Business and Professional Women's Club Woman of the Year. In 1986, the Federation of North Texas Area Universities honored Dr. Schmidt with the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children named her the Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator. Dr. Schmidt served as the president of the Denton Association of Young Children and the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children for several years, as well as the board chairperson for the Southern Association on Children Under Six. She traveled extensively to observe children and schools in Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, Czechoslovakia and Western Europe. Dr. Schmidt retired from the University of North Texas in 1988. Her scholarly publications include Cultural Awareness: A Resource Bibliography (1979). Upon her death in 1991, Dr. Velma E. Schmidt left her entire estate to the University of North Texas, Denton to establish the university's first endowed chair faculty position.