When Michael Schmidt, BA ’78, MBA ’85, first came to GW, he had every intention of pursuing his interest in Political Science, but after a foray into acting, he decided to transfer to the Speech and Drama Department to major in Drama. The only issue, Schmidt says now with a laugh, is that he “wasn’t very good.” With multiple credit hours from the department already, he switched his major once more to Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology, and eventually returned to Foggy Bottom to earn his MBA.
While his academic course took several twists and turns, Schmidt found one constant during his time at GW: the Gay People’s Alliance. “Just having a student group available to help people come to terms with their identity was hugely valuable,” he says. “Being gay in 1974 was a lot different than it is today. The Gay People’s Alliance was so instrumental in helping me become the person I am.”
Schmidt recently created a planned gift to establish the Michael R. Schmidt and Bruce C. Craig Fund. The fund will provide a need- and merit- based scholarship for a graduate and/or undergraduate student who has participated in Allied in Pride; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) Resource Center; or similar programming. His gift will also benefit the LGBTQIA Resource Center, which celebrates and supports sexual and gender diversity and inclusion by providing comprehensive educational, support, and advocacy services. The fund is named after himself and his late partner Bruce Craig, BA ‘78, MA ‘84, whom he met at GW.
This past December, Schmidt met with current students involved in the LGBTQIA Resource Center for a friendly and informative conversation about their GW experiences. “Overall, I was amazed to learn that it has gotten to a level where gender identity has become almost an everyday part of the university, which is not something that was part of life when I was there. However, there are still struggles that students are dealing with and standing up to,” he says. “I hope that my gift will involve students interested in forwarding gay rights in any number of academic fields and will benefit their GW years and beyond.”