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Richard N. Schmidt, introduced computer studies at UB

July 16, 1916 – Jan. 30, 2016

Richard N. Schmidt, a professor emeritus who introduced computer studies at the University of Buffalo in the late 1950s and early 1960s, died Saturday in Cumberland, Maine. He was 99.

Born in Buffalo, he graduated from Amherst High School in 1934 and took classes at the Buffalo Emergency Collegiate Center and UB’s Millard Fillmore College while working at Lackawanna Steel Construction in the late 1930s.

Drafted into the Army in the summer of 1941, he became a commissioned officer in 1943 and attained the rank of first lieutenant in the Medical Administrative Corps.

Returning from service, he went back to UB on the GI Bill of Rights to complete his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He became a full-time teaching fellow at UB in 1947 in what was then the Department of Statistics and Insurance in the School of Business Administration and earned his master’s in business administration in 1950.

After receiving his doctorate in business economics from the University of Michigan in 1954, he rejoined the UB faculty. He served as chairman of the Statistics Department from 1955 to 1959 and spent a year in 1960 as American guest professor at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland.

After taking a six-week course in 1956 in New York City on the UNIVAC I, the first mass-produced computer, he gave the first lecture on computers at UB, then went on to teach a two-semester course on electronic business data processing.

Since UB had no computers at the time, he took students to the Remington Rand Corp. on Washington Street in downtown Buffalo to work on a UNIVAC I, which filled an entire room.

Mr. Schmidt co-authored two books on computers and business with a colleague from Remington Rand – “Electronic Business Data Processing” in 1963 and “Introduction to Computer Science and Data Processing” in 1965. During his career, he learned about 50 computer programming languages.

He retired in 1985 but continued to walk from his home in Eggertsville to his office in Farber Hall on the South Campus at least twice a week for more than 20 years. He moved to Holland, Mich., in 2008 before going to Maine in 2014.

He was active in the Buffalo Niagara Chapter of the American Statistical Association.

His wife of 59 years, the former Mildred Kreger, died in 1999.

Survivors include a daughter, Carol Lee Mungall; two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be private.

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