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Mankato’s Chris Schmidt Receives Minnesota State Mankato Distinguished Alumni Award

Chris Schmidt of Mankato received the 2012 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato last week.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release [4-23-12]

Chris Schmidt of Mankato received the 2012 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato last week.

Schmidt, currently employed by Delta Air Lines as an Airbus 320 first officer, is one of 10 2012 alumni award winners. He was honored at an April 20 ceremony hosted by the Minnesota State Mankato Alumni Association.

Distinguished Young Alumni Awards go to graduates 35 years old or younger who have reached professional achievements early in their careers, and have positively impacted their communities.

Schmidt graduated magna cum laude in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation. He will be transitioning this fall from his current position as an Airbus 320 first officer to the Boeing 757/767 category.

As a student at Minnesota State Mankato, Schmidt served on the student senate, was active in the Aviation Club, volunteered for the Boy Scouts of America and earned his pilot’s license.

After graduation, Schmidt was hired by his first airline, Atlantic Coast Airlines, as first officer on a 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) for United Express. In 2005, he was hired by Pinnacle Airlines, where he captained a CRJ. Schmidt joined Compass Airlines in 2007 and was integral in getting the new, fledgling airline off the ground. As initial cadre check airman at Compass Airlines, Schmidt was dual-certified as both captain and first officer and was responsible for checking standards, gaining Federal Aviation Administration certification, and training pilots. During his career, Schmidt has received two awards for conduct while flying under abnormal conditions.

Schmidt has been a guest speaker at many student aviation events and continues to serve the current Minnesota State Mankato aviation students as a mentor, judge, coach, and advisor to the Flight Team. From 2003 to 2007, Schmidt taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Minnesota State Mankato Aviation Department.

Those who want more information about the April 20 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-3235.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,649 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.

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