First Recipients Of Pamela Sue Schmidt Award Announced



NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey announced that Mario Tano, a resident of West New York, and Norman Wright, a New Brunswick resident, are named the first recipients of the Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community. Tano and Wright, who just completed their junior year at SMLR, will receive $2,000 credited towards their fall 2012 semester tuition. The students were honored at the school’s convocation ceremony on May 12.

“Pamela was a bright, caring person who always found joy in helping others in need, particularly in finding scholarships to help her fellow students. Mario and Norman are ideal choices for the award, as they both embody Pamela’s commitment to community service and academic achievement,” says Susan J. Schurman, dean of the School of Management and Labor Relations.

First Pamela Sue Schmidt Award Winners
From left, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations’ juniors Mario Tano and Norman Wright receive the Pamela Sue Schmidt Award from Susan J. Schurman, dean of SMLR; Stephanie Schmidt, Pamela's sister; Jennifer Rodriguez, Pamela's friend; and Michael Schmidt, Pamela's brother. Photo courtesy of Island Photography.

The Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community will be given annually to the SMLR undergraduate student who, like former SMLR student and Warren resident Pamela Sue Schmidt, has had the most positive impact on the community either within the school, across Rutgers, or outside the university. Mario Tano and Norman Wright, dual majors in Human Resource Management and Labor Studies and Employment Relations, were selected as this year’s winners based on these criteria.

Mario Tano is Rutgers’ Latino Student Council Political Chair, a position he utilizes to inform the Latino student community about university issues. He is an avid Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) student supporter and will work as an EOF resident assistant this summer. Tano is also a member of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity, Inc. Through his fraternity, he has participated in several community service projects, including a donation of 17 turkeys during Thanksgiving 2011 to the Reformed Church of Highland Park and the Affordable Housing Corporation.

“Service to the community is one of the greatest growing passions that I have acquired at Rutgers University,” says Tano. “I want to give back to the EOF community by providing all my experiences and knowledge to incoming students, just as it was given to me.”

Norman Wright’s interest in community service stems from 4 years ago, when he assisted his mother’s recovery from a stroke at a rehabilitation center and volunteered to help the center’s other patients. Wright was inspired by his experience and went on to join Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated, a social service fraternity, to participate in additional community service opportunities. He has volunteered at Elijah’s Promise, a soup kitchen in New Brunswick; participated in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International’s “Walk to Cure Diabetes;” planted trees in Newark to help improve the air quality for asthmatic children; and performed step routines at hospitals such as Robert Wood Johnson’s children’s ward and New Brunswick’s public schools.

“This scholarship goes far beyond the hours of community service scripted on a sheet of paper,” says Wright. “It is about people standing for something to make something better than they found it.”

The Pamela Sue Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service to the Community was established to honor the legacy of the late Pamela Sue Schmidt, whose life was cut short on March 13, 2011, before her anticipated graduation in May 2011. Schmidt was a major in SMLR’s undergraduate program for Labor Studies and Employment Relations, and she was excited to have been accepted into SMLR’s top-ranked master’s program in Human Resource Management.

The Schmidt family and friends, all Warren residents, attended SMLR’s convocation to honor Pamela. Attendees included Pam’s parents Marcy and Werner Schmidt Jr.; sister, Stephanie; brother, Michael; grandparents, Morris and Myrna Egert and Werner and Eleanor Schmidt; and close friends, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jennifer Petkovski, and Laura Spiller. Stephanie Schmidt spoke on behalf of her family.

“This scholarship means so much to our family because we know how much it would mean to Pam. Giving other people the opportunity to follow in Pam’s footsteps warms our heart,” says Stephanie Schmidt.

Marcy Schmidt, Pamela’s mother, believes that her daughter would have been proud of the award and the effort her life inspired.

“Pam spent her life connecting people and bringing them together to work for common goals,” says Schmidt. “My husband [Werner], and I am happy with the selection of this year’s recipients. It’s what Pam would have wanted.”

The Pamela Sue Schmidt Scholarship Committee’s goal is to establish a permanent endowment to honor Pam Schmidt. Committee members consist of Schmidt family members, friends, businesses, and Rutgers faculty and staff. For more information on the Pamela Sue Schmidt Award, contact Meera Ananth at

Rutgers' School of Management and Labor Relations is the leading source of expertise on the world of work, building effective and sustainable organizations, and the changing employment relationship. The school is comprised of two departments—one focused on all aspects of strategic human resource management and the other dedicated to the social science specialties related to labor studies and employment relations. In addition, SMLR provides many continuing education and certificate programs taught by world-class researchers and expert practitioners.

CONTACT: Renée Walker, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, at 848-445-7582 or if you are interested in obtaining photos and conducting interviews.

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