The Gift That Keeps on Giving

The Schmidt Family Foundation made the biggest donation in FAU history around a month ago. It’s far from their first act of generosity, though.


The location for the 185,000-square-foot Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

While the Schmidt Family Foundation has been generous to FAU in the past, their newest gift to the school pales in comparison to their usual philanthropic ways.

The $16-million gift to build the 185,000-square-foot Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence is currently known as the largest gift in FAU history, but when taken into account with the rising inflation rate, it becomes paltry. The donation, announced on Dec. 2, ranks second to last of the least amounts given to FAU.

With the inflation rate factored in, the $15-million  donation to the College of Medicine in 1996 becomes $22.58 million, and the $10 million to the College of Arts and Letters is $17 million in today’s economy. The donation with the highest rise is the $3 million which was used for scholarships and fellowships, which is about $18 million today .

The average inflation rate for the year 2014 was 1.7 percent. A dollar in 1970 is worth $6.09 in today’s currency. The amounts vary with specific years depending on what the rate was.Capture3

To complete the construction of the facility, FAU needs between $45 to $50 million in total.

Even though this may not be the largest donation in FAU history, it is still greatly appreciated by the coaches, faculty and student-athletes.The Tom Oxley Athletic Center has served the 21 sports offered at FAU since 2001. Because of the sheer number of collegiate athletes at the school and limited space, it has caused scheduling conflicts for all sports programs at the school.

The construction of a new, larger facility could be a godsend for FAU athletes and coaches. The facility will feature a new locker room, weightlifting room, sports medicine center, an academic center and will work in conjunction with the other academic programs offered at FAU.

The lack of an indoor football facility has hindered the football team from being able to practice when they would like to. South Florida weather has forced them to practice early in the morning to avoid afternoon showers. FAU would become the third school in the state, along with FSU and UCF, to house an indoor football facility.

This is just one of many important contributions by the Schmidt Family Foundation..

The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters was constructed in memory of Dorothy Schmidt for her contributions to FAU. Her husband Charles gave a gift of $10 million in 1991 to establish it.

The college consists of six buildings on the Boca Raton campus, includes a 538-seat theater-concert hall, a computer graphics lab, a multimedia language instructional center and the Living Room Theaters—which opened in 2010.

She also established the Dorothy F. Schmidt Scholar Chair in the performing arts, the Joshua Logan Graduate theater scholarship and over 100 undergraduate scholarships.

The Schmidt Family Foundation donated $15 million after the death of Charles to construct the Charles E. Schmidt Biomedical Science Center. The center is a 90,000-square-foot facility, which houses classrooms, research laboratories and a graduate teaching center to educate future physicians and doctoral-level students. It was renamed the College of Medicine on June 23, 2010 Dorothy Schmidt was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 1982 by FAU. Her husband Charles founded the Tractor Supply Co., which is a nationwide farm implement retail chain and built a 27-bank holding company he sold to Bank of America. He is the founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation. With this donation, the Schmidt Family Foundation has associated their name with what might be one of the most important buildings in FAU Athletics history.