David J. Schmidly was born and raised on a cotton farm near Levelland in West Texas. Dr. Schmidly was a first generation college student and the first member of his family to attend and graduate from college. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from Texas Tech (1962-1968) and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois (1968-1971), all in Biology and Zoology.
Dr. Schmidly has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus at both of these institutions. Dr. Schmidly served as President of the University of New Mexico from 2007-2012. Previously he had served as President and CEO of Oklahoma State University (2003-2007) and Vice President of Research, Dean of the Graduate School, and President at Texas Tech (1996-2003).
Dr. Schmidly started his academic career at Texas A&M University in 1971 where he served as head of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (1986-1992) and Chief Executive Officer and Campus Dean at Texas A&M University at Galveston (1992-1996). Dr. Schmidly has served on many higher education boards, including the Executive Committee of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP); the Council of Presidents, Association of University and Colleges (AGB); the Board of Directors, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); and the Board of Directors, American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
Dr. Schmidly is an internationally respected researcher and scientific author and has been inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame for Science, Mathematics, and Technology, which recognizes Texans who have played a major role in significant scientific accomplishments. As a noted scientific naturalist, he has authored nine natural history and conservation books and more than 100 scientific articles. Dr. Schmidly and his wife of 47 years, Janet Knox Schmidly, live in Placitas, New Mexico, and are the parents of two grown children.