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Warren Harry Schmidt


1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Warren Harry Schmidt Obituary
November 10, 1920 - May 24, 2016 Warren Harry Schmidt, emeritus professor at USC's Price School of Public Policy and emeritus Professor and former Assistant Dean at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, has died. He was 95. Schmidt passed peacefully at his home in Walnut Creek, California on May 24th. Schmidt was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 10, 1920. He received a Bachelors degree in Journalism from Wayne State University, and went on to graduate work at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he was ordained as a Lutheran minister, and then completed a Ph.D. in Psychology at Washington University. A gifted writer and teacher, Schmidt spent his career in education where his focus was organizational psychology. In addition to teaching at UCLA and USC, he consulted with many national and international organizations, including Baskin Robbins, United Airlines and the California Supreme Court. An active local citizen, he chaired the Los Angeles County Citizens Economy and Efficiency Commission in the late 1970's and served on the LAPD Advisory Committee in the 1990's. Schmidt was among the pioneers of the adult education movement in the U.S., and an innovator in applying sensitivity training and the principles of human behavior to organizational management through early involvement with NTL. With his UCLA colleague Robert Tannenbaum, Schmidt co-authored a paper in the Harvard Business Review in 1973 entitled "How to Choose a Leadership Pattern," which is still considered a path breaking way to view leadership in organizations. In 1969 Schmidt wrote a parable, "Is it Always Right to Be Right?" that was printed in the LA Times as an op-ed and he delivered at UCLA's undergraduate commencement. It attracted the attention of several filmmakers and was made into an animated film (Bosustow Productions) that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject in 1970. This launched a parallel and rewarding career as a writer and consultant for training films and books aimed at bettering the human dynamics of organizations. Schmidt was married for 58 years to Amanda "Reggie" (Regelean) Schmidt, until her death in 2004. His four children--Jackie Schmidt-Posner of Berkeley, California, Barbara Harrison of Tucson, Arizona, Nancy Schmidt of Los Angeles, and Ronald Schmidt of Kihei, Hawaii-six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren survive him. He lived his life with a spirit of optimism and gratitude until his last breath. The family will hold a private memorial service. Schmidt was passionate about civic and political engagement and was a loyal member of Common Cause from its founding in 1970 until his death. Donations in his name may be made at commoncause.com.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from June 4 to June 5, 2016
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