Roger Schmidt


Roger Lee Schmidt, the first child of Rollie and Cleo Schmidt, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1931 and moved with his parents to San Bernardino in 1948. He graduated from San Bernardino High School (1949), San Bernardino Valley College (1955), the University of Redlands (1957), and the Claremont Graduate University (1963) with degrees in philosophy, religion, and history and also did graduate work in religion at the School of Theology, Claremont and in history at UC Riverside. Schmidt was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of the West (formerly Hsi Lai University) in 1998. 

Schmidt taught humanities, philosophy and religious studies at San Bernardino Valley College from 1963 through 1993, including four years at Crafton Hills College (1987-1991). He headed the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology and Philosophy and Religious Studies at SBVC and chaired the Social Science Division at SBVC and CHC. Schmidt was a professor of religion, department chair, and Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of the West from 1991 to 2001 and President of the University, 2006-2007.

He served terms as vice president and president of the SBVC Academic Senate, president of SBVC’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, and vice president of the western region of the American Academy of Religion. In 1970, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee, he created the first religious studies department in California’s public community colleges. In 1975, he was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to research "Images of Christ through Art," and co-produced with Ann Schmidt, "The Life of Christ through Art" and "Images of Christ in Art and Music.” In 1985, Schmidt was one of four SBVC faculty who received the Outstanding Faculty Award, and in 1990, while on the CHC faculty, he taught in the London Semester program through the Southern California Foothills Colleges Consortium and the American Institute of Foreign Studies.

Schmidt is the author of Exploring Religion (Wadsworth 1980, 1988) and San Bernardino Valley College Scholarships and Awards (6th editions) and co-author of Patterns of Religion (Wadsworth 1999, 2004), co-author with Ann Schmidt of the Instructor's Manual for Exploring Religion (Wadsworth 1988), and co-author with Harry Carson Frye (class of 1969) of San Bernardino Valley College Sports, 1926-1996 and The Blue and Grey: San Bernardino Valley College Sports, 1926-2011.

Roger met his spouse Ann Mattison Schmidt (class of 1956) at SBVC. Both were members of the honor scholarship society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, and Ann was President of the Associated Women’s Students and subsequently a social worker, editor, and writer. Nearly everyone in their family, including Cleo Schmidt and Ann’s parents, George and Ada Lee Mattison completed courses at SBVC as did Roger’s brother, child psychologist Gene Schmidt (class of 1959), Ann’s brother geology professor Dr. David Mattison, Gene’s former spouse, pre-school teacher Janice Lamont Schmidt (class of 1977), and their children artist Steven Schmidt, middle school teacher Jenifer Schmidt Jones, and Ann and Roger’s sons, religion professor Dr. Leigh Eric Schmidt and Spanish professor Jeffrey M. Schmidt (class of 1984).