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Born in Nebraska, July 11, 1918, Dr. Velma E. Schmidt is fondly remembered and highly admired for her extensive career as an educator, leader, and pioneer in the Early Childhood Education field. Dr. Schmidt received her Bachelor’s degree at Concordia Teachers College and continued on to obtain both her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of Nebraska. Her professional career began at the elementary school level where she would continue to teach for 17 years. From 1957 to 1964 Dr. Schmidt served as the Dean of Women and Assistant Professor of Education at Concordia Teachers College. After briefly teaching at the University of Nebraska, Velma Schmidt entered the University of North Texas’ College of Education as an associate professor of education and director of early childhood education. In 1975, Dr. Schmidt accepted a tenured position as a full professor at UNT.
Throughout her life, Dr. Schmidt accomplished a great many things; she personally developed 16 early childhood education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels for UNT, taught and guided 32 early childhood education doctoral graduates, and served as Coordinator of Graduate Affairs at UNT for 8 years. Velma Schmidt was additionally President of several committees including the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, American Association of University Women, and Business and Professional Women’s Association. Furthermore, Dr. Schmidt was an accomplished writer and published extensively in areas concerning young children and diverse cultures, history of early childhood education, and Lutheran childhood education. She presented at a variety of local, state, national and international conventions and even played a vital role in the implementation of the Title XX Child Care Training Grant.
Dr. Schmidt’s accomplishments did not go unnoticed; she received several noteworthy awards such as Outstanding Educator (UNT, 1973), Honorary Doctorate of Letters (Concordia College, 1975), Distinguished Faculty Award (Federation of North Texas Area Universities, 1986), and Outstanding Advocate for Young Children Award (Denton Association for the Education of Young Children, 1988). In 1988, Dr. Velma E. Schmidt retired after a career spanning half a century. She was honored at a banquet hosted by the University of North Texas.
Though she never married and bore no children of her own, Velma Schmidt was beloved by those who knew her and spent her life dedicated to the education of children who needed her. At the age of 72, Dr. Schmidt passed away in the HCA Denton Community Hospital. She is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Wisner, Nebraska. The Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Doctoral Scholarship, created in 1989, is still offered (as of 2017) by the University of North Texas’ College of Education for doctoral students looking to dedicate themselves to early childhood education.
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This collection is not restricted.
This collection is stored off-site and requires a minium of 24 hours notice prior to use.
This collection is arranged chronologically in a flat box; the loose documents are foldered first with a scrapbook beneath.
This collection documents Velma E. Schimdt's contributions to the University of North Texas through descriptions of her retirement, dedicated endowment scholarship, and death. Correspondence and scrapbook materials highlight how fondly she was remembered and appreciated by her collegues at the University and further illuminate her endeavors in the Early Education field.