Dr. David Schmidt Retires

Author: 
Scott A. DeLoach

Dr. David SchmidtOne of the most beloved and accomplished professors in CIS history, Dr. David Schmidt, is retiring after 29 years of service to Kansas State University.

Schmidt completed his B.A. degree in mathematics at Fort Hays State University and his M.S. from Kansas State University in computer science. After performing his doctoral research at Aarhus University, Denmark, he was awarded his Ph.D. from K-State in 1980 and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Schmidt joined Kansas State University as an assistant professor in 1986.

During his distinguished career at Kansas State University, Dr. Schmidt was awarded the Tointon Chair of Engineering and the Lloyd T. Smith Creativity in Engineering Chair. Schmidt received the College of Engineering Research Excellence Award in 1997 and the William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award from K-State's College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. He earned the title of University Distinguished Professor, K-State's highest faculty ranking, in 2003.

Scott DeLoach, Professor and Interim Department Head, said that “since I arrived in 2001, Dave Schmidt has been the heart and soul of CIS. It will be impossible to replace him in the hearts and minds of CIS students, faculty, staff and alumni.”

Schmidt has been a world renowned researcher in foundations of programming languages for over 30 years. During his storied career, his efforts resulted in the publication of three books and a large number of scholarly articles and papers in a variety of top-ranking journals and conference proceedings. Beth Unger, Emeritus Professor in CIS said that Dave “put K-State on the map with his book, ‘Compiler Generation using Lambda Calculus’, which achieved and continues to have international recognition.”

In addition, his textbook "Denotational Semantics: A Methodology for Language Development" popularized the denotational semantics technique for programming language definition and has become a standard reference, having been used at many doctoral-granting computing programs in the United States and at more than 300 schools worldwide.

Unger summed up Dave’s impact on CIS by saying “We are losing one of the long term innovative contributors to the current status of our department. And he is a wonderful fellow with a great laugh.” Schmidt officially retired on August 31, 2015.