2013 Top Dog Ken Schmidt





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Published on Nov 15, 2013

Ken Schmidt BS '64
College of Science and Mathematics

Madera native, Kenneth Schmidt, has enjoyed scientific curiosity since childhood. In fact, as a Madera Union High School junior, he won an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 1959 Central Valley Science Fair. He is a life member of the California Scholarship Federation.

As a freshman at Fresno State, he was recognized as Physics Student of the Year, and was on the Dean's List every semester. In 1964, he earned a degree in geology with highest honors.

Ken entered the relatively new field of hydrology -- a science dealing with the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on and below the earth's surface and in the atmosphere.

In 1971, he earned a Ph. D. from the University of Arizona with a dissertation regarding the high nitrate contents in the groundwater of the Fresno urban area. Ken was the 10th person in the nation to earn a doctorate in the field.

He established Ken Schmidt & Associates, a specialized groundwater consulting firm based in Fresno, and since then has conducted more than 1,000 hydrogeologic investigations primarily in Central California.

Ken has presented professional papers at dozens of national meetings, and chaired four national meetings on groundwater or water quality. In 1977, he received the Best Paper Award from "The Journal of Grand Water."

He was Governor Brown's appointee to the State Hazardous Waste Management Council in 1982, and was advisor to the United States Geological Survey on the national water quality assessment program in the 1980's.

Ken has taught classes on groundwater at Fresno State, and sat on numerous thesis and dissertation committees. In 2005, he established a hydrogeology endowment to Fresno State.

Following the theme of water in his life, Ken enjoys annual fishing trips to Alaska. And being a long-time fan of the San Francisco Giants takes yearly trips to Phoenix, Arizona during the team's spring training.

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