Lubbock colleagues & former students remember shooting victim Dr. Ethan Schmidt

Published: Sep. 15, 2015 at 3:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:26 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - While police continue to piece together the details about the Delta State University shooting yesterday morning, there are many here in Lubbock who remember victim Dr. Ethan Schmidt as a family man with a kind heart and a love of education.

About seven years ago, current TTU history professors said Dr. Schmidt began to perform unforgettable lectures in Holden Hall.

"He laughed all the time, he was very easygoing," said TTU history department chair Sean Cunningham. "The same energy and enthusiasm and passion he brought to the classroom, he brought to just about every area of his life. He was a lot of fun to be around." 

Schmidt had a style of teaching that made him stand out. In fact in 2011, he won the President's Award of Excellence for Teaching.

"He really had a passion for what he was doing and wanted to communicate that," Cunningham said, "and encourage students to push themselves, and he did it very effectively." 

Schmidt's influence was not only on his students. 

"I knew about his teaching from my students," said TTU history professor Ron Milam. "They told me the things they learned in Dr. Schmidt's class and what a great teacher of the American Revolution he was."

Even more impressive than Schmidt's knowledge, Milam said, is how he treated his three children. 

"He was a great family man," Milam said. "I've never known anyone who was closer to his family than Ethan, than in the way that he talked about his kids all the time."

Schmidt's wife taught at Frenship, Milam said, and his three children also attended classes there.

Lubbock resident Melissa Williams said Schmidt's son was her daughter's friend at Bennett Elementary School.

She says every time she saw Schmidt out with his two sons and daughter, it was always at his kids' activities.

Schmidt loved his family, and Williams said everyone could tell that.

Miguel Levario taught alongside Schmidt at the TTU history department and said once outside work, Schmidt went the extra mile for his children.

"You know, he loved his kids," Levario said. "He volunteered as a youth basketball coach for his oldest son and I watched him care deeply for all the players hugging them and encouraging them. I remember thinking when I have kids, I hope they play for him."

During the weekdays, Schmidt spent his time teaching students like Amy Boone three years ago. 

"He set it out like it was a story and he was very inspirational in how he taught," Boone said, "and if you ever had any questions, he would be there in his office to help you with anything."

Schmidt had a lasting impression particularly on Robert Weaver when he was a graduate student from 2009 to 2011.

"Dr. Schmidt's passion was one of the main the reasons I came to TTU," Weaver said. "It felt like I had found a place that would support me as a graduate student both professionally and personally. Grad school is hard, but he made it much easier."

While Scmidt's family, friends, coworkers and student wait for answers from the investigation, his lasting qualities give them comfort.

"He loved his wife, he loved his kids," Cunningham said. "He was a tremendous father, he was a lot of fun to be with and this is just a tragic and sad day."

Cunningham said that Tech officials are in the early stages of planning a way to honor Schmidt's life. "It reminds me that one person can impact the lives of many," said Schmidt's former student, Maggie Dunnam, "and in the midst of a senseless tragedy, bring people together."

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