Parents of the Year
Each year during Family Weekend, the university shines a spotlight on two of the many outstanding parents who support their sons and daughters as students at the University of Iowa through the annual Mom and Dad of the Year awards. Students submit nominations each autumn. Honorees are chosen by two student honors societies, Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa, based on personal achievements and dedication to family.
Dad of the Year
Rich Schmitz of Waterloo, Iowa
In an essay nominating her dad, Anna described his perseverance and his dedication to service. When their home was hit by a tornado in 2002 and then again in 2007, her father sent neighbors and volunteers to areas that needed more help. He taught his children by example when helping neighbors or giving up material possessions to people in need. Schmitz has always put an emphasis on education—getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees while raising a family and working full-time, while always being there to help his daughter with homework or practice her pitching for softball.
Schmitz recently retired after 25 years of working as a company electrician at John Deere and 15 years as a program manager at Hawkeye Community College. He has volunteered with the John Deere division of Habitat for Humanity and helped rebuild the local high school softball diamond. His four children are graduates of or current students at the University of Iowa.
Mom of the Year
Patti Schmitz of Waterloo, Iowa
In an essay nominating her mom, Anna described her mom’s stabilizing attitude when their home was hit by a tornado in 2002 and 2007. She kept the family together while looking through the wreckage and continued to volunteer weekly at the local homeless shelter to help local immigrants find work and get on their feet. She knew how important her daughter’s dreams were and assisted her by editing papers and helping her through tough times.
Schmitz recently retired from John Deere after 25 years of working as a computer programmer. She was an active volunteer in her four children’s high school academic and athletic booster clubs, and still dedicates her time helping at the local homeless shelter and Salvation Army, as well as with the Meals on Wheels program. Schmitz has been a leader of the Waterloo 4-H club and in the Junior Achievement program at Waterloo elementary schools, and created the local elementary school community garden.