The legacy of beloved Delta State University professor Ethan Schmidt, who died on campus on Sept. 14, continues to grow. Most recently Schmidt was honored with a scholarship established in his honor by one of his students, Larkin Chapman.
“As a student in Dr. Schmidt’s history classes, I immediately saw the passion he had in teaching and for his students,” said Larkin Chapman, a senior from Flora who is behind the creation of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship. “One of the many things I will always remember about Dr. Schmidt is how his door was always open for any student.”
Schmidt’s widow Elizabeth said the scholarship is an honor that illustrates why her husband was so well-loved by students and faculty.
“Our family is so honored that Ethan’s teaching and relationship with students and colleagues will be remembered through this scholarship,” she said. “We are excited to know that Ethan will be able to touch lives of future students through this money. We are very touched that Larkin had such a personal relationship with Ethan as a teacher and friend and knew Ethan’s passion was to help students aspire and meet their potential. We know that the money will help Delta State students for years to come even though they never got to meet Ethan.”
Delta State President William N. LaForge said the scholarship will be a gift that resonate through the lives of all of the students it assists, and it is fitting that it was created by a student.
“The establishment of the Schmidt Memorial Scholarship fund is a wonderful tribute to our beloved late colleague, Dr. Ethan Schmidt,” LaForge said. “His memory and the legacy of his good work will be perpetuated through the students who receive assistance from the fund in the years ahead. What makes this scholarship unique is that it is the first established by a current student. I salute Mr. Larkin Chapman, a senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Belzoni, for his thoughtfulness and generosity in establishing this memorial scholarship for Dr. Schmidt.”
Dr. Chuck Westmoreland, assistant professor of history and personal friend of Schmidt’s, added, “Through his infectious enthusiasm and dedication to students, Ethan Schmidt made Delta State a better place. He touched the lives of so many people on campus and Larkin Chapman was obviously one of them.”
Delta State Director of Donor Relations Ann Giger said when Chapman came into the Foundation office, he was certain that a scholarship was needed to honor Schmidt.
“I wanted to establish the scholarship as a way to remember Dr. Schmidt and to give back to other students at Delta State the same enjoyment of learning that I’ve received. I am not ashamed to say that God helped all of this to come together, and I give Him all the glory in this process,” Chapman said.
“This senior Health, Physical Education and Recreation major from Flora, Mississippi spoke numerous times of how Dr. Schmidt always made him and other students feel they mattered and how there was greatness ahead for each of them,” Giger said. “Because of Larkin’s determination, the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship was established and will be awarded to a history major and a social science education major.”
Giger added the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student
“When Larkin learned of this historical first, he was surprised as his purpose was never intended to have the focus on himself but on remembrance of Dr. Ethan Schmidt, the professor who loved his students and gave so much,” she said. “Thank you, Larkin Chapman, for your example of leadership in the establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship and in transforming the lives of students.”
Jeffrey Farris, Delta State Director of Alumni, said the National Alumni Association applauds Larkin for his establishment of the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship.
“There’s nothing more powerful than a student with a transformational idea for the betterment of the university,” Farris said.
Schmidt’s fellow educators agree.
“One of my favorite quotes regarding education is from the renowned Irish poet William Butler Yeats, who once said that ‘education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,’” said Dr. David Breaux, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “From talking with students that had the privilege of taking courses with Ethan Schmidt, it is clear that he took that quote from Yates to heart. He constantly looked for creative ways to challenge students to think critically and to hone their communication skills. Therefore, I can think of no better way to memorialize Ethan, than by the scholarship established by Larkin Chapman.”
Dr. Paulette Meikel-Yaw, chair of the Division of History and Social Sciences, added, “Dr. Schmidt was an enthusiastic educator and scholar, beloved colleague and committed family man. He touched the lives of countless students, and he was a prolific leader in the Division of Social Sciences and History and in the University at large. He has left an indelible impression on the hearts of his students, colleagues and friends.”
“As Ann Giger, Director of Donor Relations at the Delta State University Foundation, notes this marks the first scholarship in the history of Delta State to be established by a current student, Larkin Chapman,” Meikel-Yaw added. “The thoughtfulness and generosity of Mr. Chapman is heartening as Dr. Schmidt’s legacy as a professor is cherished and his influence will live on in the hearts and souls of the students who will receive these scholarships.”
The Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is one-third of the way toward the Phase I goal of $10,000. Gifts can be made on line by going to https://www.deltastategiving.org/fund/give/690?amount=0.00 or calling 662-846-4704.