Daughter inspires parents to pay it forward 
Daughter inspires parents to pay it forward 

Ann, Kelly, BS’19, and Barry Schmitt.

Over the last four years, Ann and Barry Schmitt have witnessed their daughter transform into a Creighton-educated and experienced global citizen who is well positioned to live, lead and collaborate anywhere in the world. 

“Kelly is still every ounce the person we left at Kiewit her freshman year, but the growth and development we have seen in her has far exceeded what we as parents expected from her college experience,” says Ann. 

In witnessing their daughter’s maturation into a more empathetic, passionate and principled global citizen, the Schmitts made a commitment to support the development of other students who share Kelly’s desire to live as a globally engaged, locally concerned citizen. 

With the Schmitt Family Spirit of Service and Social Justice Endowed Scholarship Fund, as well as their gifts to the Creighton Global Initiative and the Creighton Parent Fund, Ann and Barry help young men and women imagine a different future and the role they can play in creating a just and sustainable world. 

“We believe Creighton and its many programs all have the potential to create change,” says Ann, “and we believe that with Creighton we have an opportunity to help make a difference.” 

As active members of Creighton University’s Parent and Family Leadership Program, philanthropy is another way for the Schmitts to “pay it forward.” They say that the priorities of the University in undergraduate scholarship and global study abroad programs are two areas that they care about. 

“Father Hendrickson’s emphasis on the importance of students exploring the world and, to use his term, the ‘gritty realities’ of the human experience outside our own backyard resonates with us,” says Ann. “Along with those realities comes an obligation to do what is right to help. This call to service is one that our daughter has embraced and we have supported in our time at Creighton.” 

Kelly graduated in May with a degree in exercise science and pre-health professions and has been accepted into Creighton’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. Kelly says that pursuing a career in health care will allow her to continue to fulfill her passion for service to others through social awareness, leadership and advocacy. She credits her parents for instilling within her from an early age the importance of helping others and doing more. 

“My parents have influenced me so much, and I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them,” she says. “They have encouraged me to pursue my passions, to continuously learn and to seek out new opportunities.” 

Knowing where she fits into the world and helping others have always been important to Kelly, but Ann and Barry say that Creighton took her ambitions to a new level. 

“The academic drive and dedication Kelly had to exhibit in the degree program she chose is now grounded in having a clear idea of how she wants to apply all her talents,” says Ann. “She has learned to be introspective, which has shaped her own unique point of view. She now has a point of view that she can defend.” 

Kelly says that numerous leadership and service opportunities — from her freshman-year immersion abroad in Peru to her role as president of the Pre-PT Club—improved her ability to self-reflect and significantly influenced her professional formation. 

Ann and Barry say they are excited to watch Kelly transition into a professional student and earn her doctoral degree in a highly rewarding vocation; but even more so, to witness the final transformation of their daughter—to make the leap into her role as the passionate and caring professional they knew she would one day become. 

“Kelly just keeps on going. Her determination and work ethic are exceeded only by her empathy toward others,” says Ann. “She has a ‘spine of steel’ and a caring heart, and in a rehabilitation setting she will draw on her own grit and determination to inspire others — it is what she loves.” 


Every day — in their classes, residence halls, clubs and organizations —Creighton students are blessed by the encouragement and gifts from parent donors who believe in the mission of Creighton University. Your visionary philanthropy helps us to challenge students as whole persons — intellectually, spiritually, socially — to become women and men for and with others.  

  • 100 Parent and Family Leadership Council members
  • $1.9 million raised by parents in FY19


Read more about how generosity makes a difference at Creighton. 

An alumnus with a passion for palliative care

A friendship with Father Schlegel inspired education for all

Creighton’s extended family is worldwide

Medical student finds his beat giving back 

Professor says success starts with serving others

Champions for Bluejays — on the court and beyond