Contributing to a Brighter Future
Published on 09 June 2022
What do you think of when you hear the word contribution? Do you think of money, time, energy or simply serving those beyond yourself?
Service is a key value of University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, where students, alumni and faculty dedicate their lives to serving patients and their communities.
Neil Schmidt, B.S. ’73, truly emulates the value of service and has throughout his entire career. His years of contribution to his students, staff and network of fellow pharmacists have advanced the profession of pharmacy and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Discovering his passion for pharmacy at an early age, Schmidt’s curiosity and passion for learning drove him to great heights during his career and forged unbreakable connections throughout the pharmacy community.
As a student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, he developed close relationships with many of his professors, especially Dr. Joe E. Haberle, whom Schmidt has considered a mentor throughout his life.
“My mentors are the reason I am who I am today,” Schmidt said. “They are why I have been able to accomplish so much. I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Inspired by the great professors that made an indelible impression on him as a student, Schmidt followed their path into teaching. He served for 32 years as an adjunct professor at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, while also working full time as a staff pharmacist, director of pharmacy and eventually a hospital administrator, as well as teaching at Webster University and University of Missouri.
Understanding the value of mentorship and the knowledge gained from his earlier experiences, Schmidt dedicated his time to advancing the careers of his students, staff and mentees. Through his connections, he was able to help them procure jobs and discover new opportunities, passing forward what Haberle and his other mentors had done for him.
“It really is all about connection,” Schmidt explained. “The connections I made early in my career and as a student molded me into the person I am today. I’m still in touch with many of my students, and I’m in awe of the success they have achieved. I’m especially proud that a number of my students are now professors themselves at the college.”
Schmidt carried his contributions into a tenured career in hospital pharmacy. From early in his career, he worked to innovate and advance pharmacy into a more progressive model by bringing hospital pharmacists “out of the basement” and onto the patient floors to work directly with the care team. He was adamant about demonstrating how pharmacists could add valuable perspective and insight to successful patient care.
Now retired, Schmidt is excited to see what the next generation will do.
“I love talking with young pharmacists about their dreams and goals for the future,” Schmidt said. “There is so much that can be done within pharmacy. It’s inspiring to see their drive, and I’m excited to see what they will accomplish.”
As he began planning for the next chapter in his life, Schmidt considered ways to contribute to students and their success, while also supporting the institution that started him on his path.
This fall, Schmidt cemented his impact on students forever. Working with the University, he established the Neil J. Schmidt ’73 Endowed Scholarship. The fund will distribute annual scholarship awards from the interest earned by the principal of the account, allowing it to continue supporting students indefinitely.
“I wanted to make this gift to show my love for the college, which has meant so much to me, and to carry on the support that I received when I was a student,” Schmidt explained. “I’ve loved every minute of my career and I wouldn’t change a thing. Pharmacy is my passion; it started here. The University is so important to me, and I want to continue to remain involved.”
How to Contribute
There are many different ways to make a contribution. Schmidt’s scholarship was established using a Charitable IRA Rollover, which is a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from a traditional IRA that allows a donor to reduce the amount of their taxable income while also making a gift to charity.
Through the rollover, donors can count the donation toward their required minimum distribution without paying taxes or early withdrawal penalties on the funds. This process is a great option for someone who is 70.5 years or older and looking for unique giving methods.