On Tuesday evening as a candlelight vigil was conducted on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, the brothers of the Kansas Epsilon Chapter held a concurrent candlelight vigil on the steps of its chapter home near Emporia State University to honor the life and memory of its brother, Dr. Ethan A. Schmidt, an assistant professor of history, who was murdered in his faculty office on the Delta State campus.
As an undergraduate, Schmidt rose in the ranks of chapter leadership serving as president, and in grad school, helped advise his chapter. He was a student senator eventually serving as student body president. Schmidt was inducted into Order of Omega and departmental honorary societies. He was named Distinguished Senior of his class.
Ethan Schmidt earned his bachelors (double major) and master degrees at Emporia State and his PhD at the University of Kansas. Schmidt specialized in Native American and colonial history. He taught for six years at Texas Tech before taking a professorship at Delta State. Schmidt published two scholarly books in his field. At Delta State, Schmidt was director of the freshman First Year Experience program. He was a beloved faculty member.
On Monday morning, September 14, 2015 he was shot and killed in his campus office by a friend and colleague who later took his own life.
Ethan Schmidt remained a presence in the life of his chapter though separated by distance. He visited Emporia State twice a year and was researching to write a history of the chapter to be published in the 50th anniversary year, 2019. In March of 2015, Schmidt returned to deliver the signature Zimmerman Lecture for his alma mater Social Sciences Department.