Teresa and Dr. David Schmidt announced the creation of the LCpl Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Endowed Professorship in History at Texas Christian University in October of 2012. 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.
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.”
“What's important to TCU is that Benjamin Schmidt's name will live forever,” said Matt Bethea, director of development for TCU's AddRan College of Liberal Arts. “It's not just going to touch one student at a time. It will touch 20 a semester because that professor will be teaching in history.”