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Religion department remembers professor, mentor

Daryl D. Schmidt, a John F. Weatherly professor of religion and former chairman of the religion department, died of colon cancer Tuesday morning. David Grant, professor and current chairman of the religion department, said Schmidt was “a wonderful presence in the department.”

“Dr. Schmidt was a gentle, thoughtful, engaging scholar of the New Testament,” Grant said. “He was a wonderful teacher and mentor to students and a bridge-builder among scholars with different approaches to the Bible.”

Schmidt began his teaching career at TCU in 1979, teaching Hellenistic Greek and the New Testament and acted as the department chairman for six years. He finished his term last May and had been in California on research leave since then.

Jack Hill, associate professor of religion, said Schmidt had a gentle spirit and a deep moral courage.

“I remember Dr. Schmidt as someone who was always creating community, especially among faculty and students in the religion department,” Hill said in an e-mail. “He was also really committed to racial diversity and worked hard to open the process of hiring new faculty with new perspectives and gifts in the department.”

Grant said Schmidt was scheduled to go to Europe to study ancient biblical manuscripts and was planning to return to TCU in the fall.

He said Schmidt was the first person he met in the religion department almost 25 years ago and had many fond memories of Schmidt. Grant said he would often call Schmidt in California to ask for his opinion on things.

“He was a marvelous leader of our department,” Grant said.

Yushau Sodiq, associate professor of religion, said Schmidt will be missed by the department.

“He was a very nice colleague, dedicated and human compassionate,” Sodiq said.

Sodiq said one of Schmidt’s contributions to the religion department was developing a new TCU core curriculum that was implemented last fall.

Sodiq said he remembers Schmidt as an approachable person who was willing to extend a helping hand to anyone.

Laurie Loken, administrative assistant of the religion department, said Schmidt’s door was always open to his students. She said if a student came to Schmidt’s door, he would stop what he was working on and give the student his full attention.

Plans for services were unknown at the time of publication.

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