Schmidly served as the vice president for research, dean of the Graduate School and president of Texas Tech from 1996 to 2003.
Former Texas Tech President David Schmidly will speak at the spring commencement ceremonies May 19-20 at United Supermarkets Arena. Schmidly attended Texas Tech from 1962 to 1968 and received his bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology. He then attended the University of Illinois and earned his doctorate in zoology.
After attending the University of Illinois, he began his career in academia at Texas A&M University in 1971 as head of the U.S. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Services frpm 1986 to 1992. He then served as CEO and campus dean at Texas A&M University in Galveston until1996.
He served as the vice president for research at Texas Tech, dean of the graduate school and president from 1996 to 2003. Schmidly is recognized as a distinguished alumnus at both Texas Tech and the University of Illinois. In 2003, he served as the president and CEO of Oklahoma State University until 2007, then moved to the University of New Mexico to serve as its president until 2012.
In addition to many esteemed positions at several universities, Schmidly has served on many higher education boards, including the Executive Committee of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP); the Council of Presidents, Association of University and Colleges (AGB); the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); the Board of Directors for the American College and University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC); and a director and member of the Executive Committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
All of these positions and his education at Texas Tech led Schmidly to become an internationally respected researcher and scientific author. He is a member of the Texas Hall of Fame for Science, Mathematics and Technology, and the author of 11 natural history and conservation books and more than 150 scientific articles. His expertise as a scientific naturalist led to a species of mice named after him, Peromyscus schmidlyi. In 2003, he received the most prestigious award of the international scientific society, an honorary membership in the American Society of Mammalogists.
"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Schmidly back to campus to address our graduates at commencement," said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. "As a world renowned scholar, administrator and president, Dr. Schmidly has made lasting contributions to the legacy of Texas Tech and higher education in general. It will be a special occasion for our graduates and the Texas Tech community to hear from this distinguished alumnus."