Family of Fallen Marine Gives Gift To TCU

Creation of Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Endowed Professorship in History announced Saturday

By Mark Schnyder
|  Sunday, Oct 7, 2012  |  Updated 7:07 AM CDT
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On the one-year anniversary of his son's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, David Schmidt announced effort to raise $1 million to endow a professorship in son's name.

Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News

On the one-year anniversary of his son's death by friendly fire in Afghanistan, David Schmidt announced effort to raise $1 million to endow a professorship in son's name.

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The family of a U.S. Marine who died serving in Afghanistan made another significant gift to Texas Christian University.

Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt told his father before he left TCU to join the Marines that he wanted half of his life insurance policy to go to the university if he died while serving his country.

"Not too many young men volunteer to go to Afghanistan twice," said his father, David Schmidt. "The second time because he was the most senior sniper and he didn't want to send his buddies over there without him, so he was a very special individual, and we want to honor him, and he loved TCU."

His son's name is now on a plaque at TCU's Veteran's Plaza.

The Schmidt family is creating a million-dollar, endowed professorship in the Marine's name in the university's history department.

Fundraising is beginning after Schmidt's $100,000 contribution.

"Ideally, what we would like to see is a professor here who studies the affect of war on societies," David Schmidt said. "I haven't talked to the dean about that yet."

AddRan College of Liberal Arts Dean Andy Schoolmaster said the new position would help the university recruit the best students and researchers to campus.

"It also influences when we're recruiting regular faculty members that folks want to come and work with people who're so well-known and recognized in their disciplines, so we think this is just an extremely important and wonderful way to remember Benjamin and honor him," Schoolmaster said.

Click here for more information on how to contribute to the professorship.

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