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Honors Student Athlete Excels In and Outside the Classroom


During his academic and athletic career at Mount Saint Vincent, Karl Schmitt ’16 has had numerous opportunities to explore his passions outside the classroom, as well as in it.

A high-achieving and motivated student in the College’s History program, Mr. Schmitt was a member of the College’s Honors Program and was one of four student athletes to be part of the Wrestling program since its inception in 2012. Though the Mount’s Wrestling program continues to build its repertoire, Mr. Schmitt was a guiding force for the team as a four-year captain. In addition to his time on the mat, he excelled throughout his undergraduate career: In 2015, he was awarded as the Student Affairs Scholar Athlete of the Year; at the Baccalaureate and Hooding Ceremony he was the recipient of the Dr. Mary C. Stuart Award, an award founded to commemorate Dr. Stuart’s inauguration as President of the College, awarded to an outstanding History major; and, he was inducted into multiple honor societies, including Delta Epsilon Sigma, Kappa Gamma Pi, Phi Alpha Theta, and Chi Alpha Sigma.

Even more impressive, Mr. Schmitt was able to present his senior thesis at the Humanities Undergraduate Research Symposium this past April. His thesis, Foreign Enemy of Common Good: A Comparative Analysis, laid out the approaches two European nations took to stoke nationalism as each prepared to enter war, as well as the effects these had on their people and enemies.

In collegiate athletics, militaristic jargon is often used as a means to impress upon athletes how hard they need to work, how much they need to sacrifice, and how long they need to endure to achieve a common goal. Wrestling is a team sport, but when athletes take the mat to face-off against an opponent, they are out there by themselves, with just one person standing in the way of their goal.

“Whenever our coach would make us run hills, it would bring all of us together,” says Mr. Schmitt. “We saw the hill as our common enemy and would be able to push each other so we’d all get to the top.”

Parallels can be drawn between preparing for a wrestling match and the process of writing a thesis—both require constant feedback from an advisor and a coach. But, despite that feedback, ultimately the final presentation is left up to the individual.

“Karl was a model student and met all of the deadlines we agreed upon,” says David Aliano, Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Associate Professor of Italian and History. “As his advisor, we always had productive meetings. Karl was responsive to suggestions made throughout the process, with each draft of his paper improving.”

Teamwork, chemistry, and camaraderie are all important factors to building a winning culture, even when the victories and success don’t materialize. “Teams that identify with a common goal are able to act as one unit,” says Mr. Schmitt. “This is the same as that of many nations throughout history.”

Mr. Schmitt has displayed the ability to balance academics, athletics, and even a part-time job as a student worker for the athletic training staff. He embodies what it means to be an NCAA Division III student athlete, boasting a well-rounded collegiate experience through rigorous academics and competitive athletics.

“Karl is one of the hardest working, most dedicated students and individuals I’ve been around,” says Dean Zenie, Head Wrestling Coach. “I wish I could have Karl for four more years, to serve as an example of how to compete academically and athletically.”

Mr. Schmitt’s post-graduate plans include enrolling in a master’s degree program and continuing to be involved with wrestling. He hopes to work as a coach with a focus on strength training. If past performance predicts future behavior, Mr. Schmitt will excel at whatever he chooses.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.