September 14, 2020

Charting a new path

One alum's investment leaves children and families in good hands.

Because of Don and Sylvia Schmid, 23 UND graduate students studying social work have received scholarships. Don, ’61, established the Child Welfare Leadership Scholarship Endowment in 1998 to celebrate his retirement from a longtime career with the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Don and Sylvia Schmid

“I wanted to provide some financial help to students seeking an MSW so the field of child welfare would benefit from having the best trained professionals to carry out the work,” said Don.

Well-known in social work circles for his innovative management and consultation for child and human service agencies across the nation, Don acknowledges it all started at UND. He recalls his first field placement as a student working with the Spirit Lake Nation Reservation.

“That experience helped shape my entire professional career,” said Don. Upon retirement from the State, he continued his work with Native tribes, universities and state governments in a career that has spanned nearly 60 years.

Holding an MSW from Columbia University, Don especially applauds the UND Department of Social Work for its online MSW Degree, ranked 7th in the nation and attracting future leaders in the field from all over the country. Don says that the students he has met have not disappointed: “I have been very impressed with their intelligence, passion, commitment and range of professional interest.”

Because of them, Don has confidence that children and families in need throughout North Dakota and beyond will be in good hands.


Join other UND supporters, like Don and Sylvia, by making a gift to the University of North Dakota. For more information on supporting students, give us a call at 701.777.2611 or check out our
guide to giving.

— by Jenn Lukens