Schmidt to receive McKendree Friend award

News-DemocratFebruary 12, 2014 

Columbia native John F. Schmidt will receive the 2014 Friend of the University Award from McKendree University.

The award will be presented Feb. 20 during a Founders' Day program at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts.

Established in 2002, the Friend of the University Award recognizes organizations or individuals who have given their time and assistance to McKendree despite the fact they are not a school alumni.

"John F. Schmidt has been a friend of McKendree University for more than 35 years," McKendree University president James Dennis said. "His impact on the University and as a leader in the metro-east, has been significant."

Schmidt has served on numerous volunteer boards, and supporting arts and community organizations and educational institutions.

He established the William E. and Florence Schmidt Foundation in 1981 as a memorial to his parents, and honored the legacy of his sister through the Lon D. and Lucille Barton Foundation in 1984. The two foundations have provided millions of dollars of assistance to a variety of organizations, including The Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, the Community Unified School District in Gillespie, and the American Cancer Society as well as nearly a million dollars to McKendree University.

The Schmidt Foundation established an endowed scholarship fund for the study of business, economics or computer science, and supported construction of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts. Gifts from the Barton Foundation endow a scholarship for students interested in theater and the performing arts.

Schmidt's wife, Peggy, graduated from McKendree in 1976 with a degree in art, has provided annual support and major fundraising campaigns at the university. They currently live in Tucson, Ariz.

Susan Parton Stanard, an associate professor of Music at Lewis and Clark Community College, recently performed with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus in the opera "Peter Grimes" at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

"Susan exemplifies the standard of excellence set by the entire Lewis and Clark music program," Lewis and Clark Dean of Liberal Arts and Business Jill Lane said.

Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times listed the St. Louis Symphony's Nov. 22 performance of "Peter Grimes" as number five on his list of the 10 most memorable opera performances in New York City in 2013.

Stanard said it was nerve wracking to perform in such a high profile atmosphere. But she said the St. Louis Symphony Chorus was ready for the challenge.

This is Stanard's first season with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. Stanard is preparing for her next St. Louis Symphony Choir performance, Verdi's Requiem, which will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Powell Hall in St. Louis, with a repeat performance on Saturday, March 8. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, visit

A pair of Madison County foundations have teamed up to award $40,000 in college scholarships for the 2013-14 school year.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Madison County's It Starts Here Foundation awarded scholarships to:

* Katrina Cordova who will graduate in 2014 with a nursing degree from SWIC.

* Samuel Richey, a medical student at Saint Louis University.

* Stephanie Swanson who will graduate in 2015 with a degree in healthcare administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

* Amanda Wineburner who will graduate in 2015 as a family nurse practitioner from SIUE.

All four award winners are from Madison County. But a new award created in 2013 opens scholarship opportunities for St. Clair County residents, too.

The Congressman Jerry Costello Scholarship which is available to both Madison County and St. Clair County residents was awarded to Molly Etling of Freeburg. She will graduate in 2014 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and plans to practice medicine in southern Illinois.

Criteria for selecting the scholarship winners includes consideration of academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of career and educational goals and objectives and unusual personal or family circumstances. The statement of their goals includes a question asking how the student plans to give back to the community following completion of the student's degree.

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