2011 Commencement Grand Marshal Ron Schmidt, Professor Political Science, RetiresMay 17, 2011
After forty years of university teaching, Professor Ron Schmidt will retire from the department’s faculty at the end of the Spring 2011 semester. Schmidt began his career teaching public administration, but over the years he gravitated towards teaching courses in political theory, racial and ethnic politics, public policy, and California politics. He was elected chair of the department twice: from 1977 – 1980, and again from late 1984 to 1990.
Schmidt says: “coming to Cal State Long Beach was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I had a chance to stay on the faculty at the University of Oregon in 1972, but something told me to accept the job spend my career. I’ve never regretted my decision.”
A first generation college student, Schmidt says that teaching other first generation students at CSULB has made him “the happiest person in the world!” Among the highlights of his career: “meeting the love of my life” at CSULB (Rosemary, who was a Student Services advisor to the Political Science Students Association while he was faculty advisor to the same group in the 1970s); winning the university’s Outstanding Professor Award in 1998; receiving a Best Book Award in 2001 from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics; being elected president of the Western Political Science Association in 2005; participating in the Partners for Success faculty mentoring program at CSULB; but “most of all, having a career in which I’ve been able to continue having my mind challenged constantly, and working to help students develop their skills and ideas about what is really important in life.”
Schmidt says he doesn’t plan to give up his work after his retirement from CSULB: “I have more books to write, more things to learn, more places to visit, and I hope to continue teaching, at least part of the time. But I also want to spend more time with my children and grand-children, and they live on the east coast.”