Dr. Joe: A True Shamrock

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Michael White '21

When you think about St. Pat’s, the first person that pops into your mind is “Dr. Joe Schmidt.” Our beloved president has been at Saint Patrick since 1967 and has worked just about every position while on his way to becoming president. Sadly, this is the last year we will be able to call Dr. Joe our president as he is stepping down after the 2020-2021 school year although he will be around school for at least another year.

Dr. Joe grew up in Evanston and attended St. George High School, operated by the Christian Brothers. He graduated from Purdue and came back to Chicago for an internship before his life would change forever.

Dr. Joe was brought in as a replacement for several teachers that went on strike during the 1967-1968 school year. He continued to work at Saint Patrick as a teacher for another five years and then he was promoted to dean of students. He was the dean for 15 years before he became our principal for 26 years and finally, he has been our president for the last eight years.

Dr. Joe’s name will forever be remembered in the Saint Patrick history books as the first lay president. Brought in by former president Brother Konrad, Dr. Joe has worked with other great Shamrocks such as the late great Rudy Presslak, Max Kurland, Russ Lucas, Mike Bailey, and Dan Galante.

Dr. Joe believes, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” and said he loves seeing students grow and succeed.

I asked religion teacher and Campus Minister, Mr. Raho, what he thinks Dr. Joe means to St. Pat’s, and he had nothing but praise for him and what he has done for the school. He called Dr. Joe the school’s “number one ambassador,” and the “bloodline of the Brotherhood.”

When asked what Dr. Joe means to him personally, he shared a memory from his first interview. “I want to work for this guy,” Mr. Raho thought as he walked out. He added, “Dr. Joe is the reason I’ve stayed at St. Pat’s as long as I have.”

Dr. Joe has been an extraordinary leader at St. Pat’s for many generations. He is the heart and soul of the school and the definition of a true Shamrock.