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Kindling the spirit of UD

Kindling the spirit of UD

Nick Thompson '23 May 18, 2023

As a young electrical engineering student, Paul Grygier ’75 had a lot on his mind — and a lot he wanted to accomplish. But in order to achieve these goals, he had to find a professor who would help him — and that was Bernhard “Bernie” Schmidt ’42.

“I remember going into his office, and I’d ask him for permission to do [the projects] I wanted to do,” Grygier said. “And he let me go and do them.”

Schmidt started out at UD as a student himself in the electrical engineering program, graduating from the University in 1942. But on a fateful visit back to UD, Schmidt was offered a job by one of his former professors, Brother Louis H. Rose, S.M. ’23. Schmidt accepted and began teaching in 1948. During those years, Schmidt instilled a passion for learning in all of his students, including Grygier.

Black and white photo of Schmidt as a young graduate
Bernhard "Bernie" Schmidt '42

 With inspiration from Schmidt during his undergraduate years, Grygier went on to pursue his master’s in engineering management at UD, followed by his doctorate from Ohio State University. He worked for 31 years as a research engineer at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the area of automotive safety.

Schmidt died in 2010 at age 89, and Grygier felt drawn to attend his memorial service. It was there where he found a way to honor Schmidt’s legacy.

“I had already been giving to [the University] after finishing grad school,” Gygier said. “But when I attended the memorial service, I found out about the scholarship.”

Originally established in 2003, the Bernhard M. Schmidt Electrical Engineering Endowed Scholarship assists graduate and undergraduate students majoring in electrical engineering. Grygier was among Schmidt’s family and friends who began contributing to the fund in 2010.

Schmidt taught students the information they needed to excel in the electrical engineering field, Grygier said. Schmidt also taught Grygier so much more than he could ever find in a textbook.

“Openness, listening to people and being flexible,” Grygier said. “He represented the spirit of UD.”

In honor of family