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Professor Emeritus


It is with deep sadness that we announce that Dr. Richard (Dick) Schmidt, Professor Emeritus in Second Language Studies, passed away on March 15, 2017. He is sorely missed by friends, family, and colleagues across the globe. We send our Aloha to his loved ones in this difficult time.

Richard Schmidt
Emeritus Professor
Senior Consultant, National Foreign Language Resource Center

PhD, Brown University


Dr. Schmidt went to school in New England (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) and then spent several years in the Middle East. As a U.S. foreign service officer, he was director of the J. F. Kennedy Cultural Center & Library in Beirut from 1965 to 1969, and from 1974 to 1976 he taught in the MA in TEFL program at the American University in Cairo. In 1976, he relocated to Hawaiʻi, where he has lived ever since—except for a wonderful Fulbright assignment in Rio de Janeiro in 1983—teaching courses in the MA and PhD programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa until retiring in December 2011. He was also director of the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC) from 1995 to 2011, one of a network of centers across the U.S. with a mandate to build national capacity to learn and teach foreign languages effectively.

Dr. Schmidt’s primary research area is cognitive and affective factors in adult second and foreign language learning—including the role of attention and the importance of motivation in learning. Other areas include sociolinguistics (macro and micro) and the particular problems of learning and teaching difficult, less commonly taught languages.