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New Center for Art and Design at FHSU named for Schmidt Foundation
Bob and Pat Schmidt

HAYS – Fort Hays State University’s stunning new Center for Art and Design will now carry Bob and Pat Schmidt’s name. The university received final Kansas Board of Regents approval to name the facility the Schmidt Foundation Center for Art and Design. 

The naming opportunity came about following a generous $2.5 million gift from the Schmidt Foundation to Fort Hays State. The two-story, 43,000-square foot building, dedicated to art, opened its doors to students at the start of the fall 2019 academic semester. 

“The Schmidt Foundation is excited to be a part of such a beautiful project,” said Gary Shorman, president of the Schmidt Foundation. “Bob and Pat Schmidt were not only avid supporters of Fort Hays State University, but they also loved art and those who create it. We believe FHSU’s Center for Art and Design is the perfect place to invest and to build a wonderful future for students who choose to enhance our lives with art.” 

The Schmidt Foundation Center provides lab spaces for graphic design, interior design, drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, art education, art history and photography. The facility also offers departmental office space, a multi-purpose lab, a traditional classroom, woodshop, graduate studios, commons area and a ceramics kiln yard. 

The late Bob and Pat Schmidt were known for their generous philanthropic support. They were determined to continue to be major contributors to projects important to Kansas, FHSU included, through the Schmidt Foundation. 

A native of La Crosse, Bob Schmidt stayed close to home to attend what was then Fort Hays Kansas State College, where he met his future wife, Pat, who was also a student. He graduated in 1950 and went on to become a renowned broadcaster and eventual owner of KAYS Inc. Along the way, he become an icon throughout the community of Hays, through both his leadership and his philanthropy. 

Pat Schmidt believed in the Midwestern work ethic and Kansas values. She was known for her love of the arts, and she supported them generously. She served as Hays Arts Council president twice and was appointed to serve on the board of directors of the Association of Arts Councils of Kansas. 

The couple enjoyed nearly 69 years of married life together before Pat passed away in 2015 and Bob in 2017. The Schmidt Foundation continues their legacy by supporting education, the arts, and Fort Hays State University. 

Learn how you can support the students and programs within FHSU’s new Schmidt Foundation Center for Art and Design by contacting the FHSU Foundation, 785-628-5620, or To learn more about the FHSU Foundation, visit