February 28, 2017
As former general counsel for the nation's largest guarantor of student loans, Edward R. Schmidt told a classroom of Susquehanna University business students that adherence to personal and professional standards of integrity is crucial when career-making decisions are at stake.
"A fundamental thing I've come to understand in my career is that knowing your own sense of values is critical to navigating the pitfalls of life, both personal and professional," Schmidt said.
An alumnus and member of Susquehanna's Board of Trustees, Schmidt is spending the week as an executive-in-residence in the Sigmund Weis School of Business.To illustrate his point, he shared an experience from 20 years ago, when, as general counsel of USA Group, he was called upon to lead an investigation into alleged wrongdoing involving a member of senior management. He noted the role of corporate governance in reaching a resolution.
Schmidt is meeting this week with students in various small-group forums, including accounting, economics and marketing classes; and informal dinners with university administration, faculty of the Sigmund Weis School of Business and the Schmidt Lectureship Committee.
Schmidt is a 1969 graduate of Susquehanna University and went on to earn his law degree from the University of Notre Dame. He is a retired partner of the Indianapolis law firm Krieg DeVault. Prior to that, he was an executive vice president for Sallie Mae. He also served as executive vice president, general counsel-secretary and board member of USA Group.
Schmidt remains an engaged member of the Susquehanna University community. In addition to being a vice chair of the Board of Trustees, he also endowed the Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt Lecture in Ethics in honor of his late parents.
"You will all face ethical dilemmas in your professional lives," Schmidt said. "But don't compound an error in judgment with a failure of personal integrity."