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Gene Schmidt ’64 credits his great aunt for pressing him to get his degree, but it was a chance meeting through his friend Bob Bulas ’58 that Schmidt met coach Regis “Peck” McKnight ’30 and then enrolled at IUP and joined the basketball team. Hard work in basketball carried over to hard work in the classroom, and Schmidt found his way to a fulfilling career as one of 11 Pennsylvania State Education Association field directors. With a deep desire to improve lives, he established a fund—the Gene Schmidt and Norma Altemus Scholarship—to benefit members of IUP’s men’s basketball team and honor his great aunt.
Malik Miller gravitated to IUP because of academic programs and the team culture he found under men’s basketball coach Joe Lombardi. A beneficiary of the scholarship Schmidt created, Miller is a first-generation student enrolled in the communications media and sport management programs.
“I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities,” he said. “It’s hard work, but I would not be where I am today without my scholarship.”