Evlyn Schmidt, Retired Director of Marvin E. McKee Library, arrived on campus in the fall of 1997. It should be noted, however, that Evlyn first visited Panhandle State College (PSC) in the fall of 1969 to attend a Northwestern State College vs PSC football game. She doesn’t remember the score, sad to say.
Raised and educated in various Oklahoma towns, Evlyn moved from eastern Oklahoma, near Arkansas, to Tonkawa, then to Ponca City when her teacher and principal father changed positions. Graduating from Ponca City High School, she attended Northwestern State College in Alva, Okla. and earned her bachelor’s degree. Libraries have always been the chosen profession. The bachelor’s degree was a K-12 School Librarian degree, long since disappeared in the realm of academia.
Also while at Northwestern, she was fortunate enough to travel and experience a unique education while a cast member in Up With People. No, she can’t sing, but they recruited her to do public relations. After one stage appearance in Columbia, Mo., she joined an advance public relations group, flew for the first time, and headed to Ontario, Canada. Following a six week stay in Canada, Cast A flew to Milan, Italy, and performed in cities including Genoa, Rome, Pisa, and Padua. Returning to Canada, she was again part of an advance public relations group in New York State, near Woodstock, summer 1969. Some of you may recognize the connection.
Who would have thought this small town, small college student would have these amazing experiences? Many OPSU students and alumni have shared similar stories with Evlyn. The importance that this rural campus in the Oklahoma Panhandle played in student’s opportunities cannot be overstated. “Oh, the places you’ll go!”
Perhaps most importantly, while at Northwestern, Evlyn met John Schmidt, Texan, and became engaged. The couple married in December 1969, moved to Texas, and Evlyn began working in Moffett Library at Midwestern State University. Next was a high school librarian position and summers spent completing a Master’s in Library Science at North Texas State University, emphasis on academic libraries.
While Evlyn completed her master’s, and worked in the library at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, John began his 23 year Air Force career. Thus began the saga of Air Force life. The biggest move took them to Wiesbaden, Germany, where daughter Courtney arrived six weeks after Evlyn completed written comprehensives for her master’s in Texas. This two year stay allowed travel, economy class, in Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands.
The next few years are a blur of many Texas Air Force bases; son Jacob arrived in San Antonio, and son Nicholas arrived in Fort Worth, Texas. They finally got out of Texas, headed to North Carolina, and enjoyed historical trips from D.C. to Florida. During these many moves, Evlyn worked in school, public, and corporate libraries.
The family landed in Denver, Colo., Lowry AFB, and raised their children there for 12 years. During this time, Evlyn was a librarian in Englewood and Arapahoe Library District. After retiring in 1994, John worked in the Rural Health Clinic in Stratford, Texas until their move to Guymon in 2001.
Contributing to her unplanned, unexpected learning opportunities were the times spent volunteering in Girl Scouts, parent involvement with daughter’s volleyball and sons’ gymnastics, AAUW, and Lions Club.
As sports junkies, Evlyn and John continue to be avid Aggie fans and supporters. They appreciate the dual commitment that student athletes make as both student and competitor. They also support campus organizations and events which provide student learning outside the classroom.
Evlyn retired in 2011, and she and John stay busy traveling to visit children and grandchildren who are in Seattle, Denver, and New York City. She also watches the grapes grow in their vineyard, continues volunteer work, reads, attends OPSU events, and travels near and far.
Thank you to the OPSU Alumni and Friends for nominating Evlyn for the Alumni Ambassador Hall of Fame. It is an honor to join the many deserving folks and she encourages you to nominate someone who should be recognized. There are many who have served OPSU well. Special thanks to all of the dedicated, professional faculty and staff who helped make this university a special part of many lives. Go Aggies!