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I consider myself extremely privileged to have had Frank as my advisor during my time as a Ph.D. student at Iowa. All of the faculty contributed to my success in some way, and I owe the biggest debt of gratitude to Frank. Without his investment in my future, my career would have been very different. Thank you, Frank!

Jonathan Shaffer

I have had many jobs over the course of my adult life, and one of my favorites was the semester that I was a TA for Frank. Frank was teaching in Des Moines and preferred to relax before class; my job was to be his driver. Given how intimidating Frank was in class, this was a scary assignment! But, in the end, I got to know him as an interesting and kind person — in addition to the brilliant teacher I already knew he was. A defining moment of my learning from Frank was about 1.5 hours into his measurement class (I was a first year, first month, Ph.D. student). I had no clue what all the scribbles that stretched across the board meant (e.g., formulae, mathematical proofs). I was LOST. It was sink or swim for me, so I took a chance. I got Frank’s attention and asked him if perhaps he might be able to summarize what we had been doing for the past 1.5 hours, using English nouns and verbs. After looking at me for what seemed like five minutes, with my classmates looking on in horror, he DID IT! Frank had an outsized influence on me and our field, and it was this ability… to take what he did and knew well and make it accessible… to accept people where they were…that made him both a brilliant scholar and a lovely human being. He will be missed.

Joyce Bono

Frank offered me heartfelt advice and guidance as a new assistant professor. He was at times painfully direct but this was a strength that made him a remarkable scholar and teacher. And at the same time, he was consistently generous and kind. He contributed so much to the program at Iowa and to the field of I/O with this intellectual contributions and his support of students and colleagues. Many who read his scholarly work but had not met him were surprised to learn how kind he was in person. Frank was always willing to chat, offer feedback and advice, and take you out on his land to shoot and enjoy the scenery. He leaves a legacy for his intellect and, just as importantly, his kindness.

Ken Brown

Frank believed in IQ as THE predictor of job performance; and ironically, this was an individual difference he was at the top of himself. He also served as a very impactful mentor to me early in my career. I would give him an article I was about to submit, and he would then proceed to burn a red pen up, making notations on things to change. While somewhat frustrating, it was extraordinarily valuable, as reviewers could not find any big issues, once Frank’s points were addressed. He knew what mattered and he knew how to convey it clearly and forcefully. Frank was a generous, giving colleague and he will be missed immensely.

Murray Barrick

I owe my research career to Frank. He was an excellent mentor and a kind and generous man. I will miss him.

Mike McDaniel

Frank was the first to me in many ways. He was the first person who interviewed me for a PhD program, his meta-analysis class was the first class in my PhD coursework, and our family spent our first Christmas in Iowa at his house, where I had eggnog for the first time. As many people agree, it is unquestionable his professional work has made enormous contributions to our field. Personally unquestionable is that he was a great mentor who helped and supported me to grow through many first experiences in my intellectual journey. I am grateful that I was able to learn from Frank and share memories with him. Frank, you will be missed and your work will impact what I will do as a researcher and teacher.

Daejeong Choi

It was heartbreaking and a great surprise to learn of the passing of Dear Frank who just emailed us a while ago out of his concern for our safety (he read news stories about attacks on East Asians). Frank was such a caring person. When I was a doctoral student in his department at Iowa, Frank invited me and other students to his house for Thanksgiving and Christmas almost every year. He was a great host. He knew so much, almost everything, and was an amazing story teller. His knowledge on the history of my home country made me feel ignorant, embarrassed, and curious. I spent many nights in a summer break, eager to read a thick book that Frank lent me about unknown stories about my home country. I really enjoyed that book, which was perhaps the only none-academic book I ever read as a doctoral student. After having enjoyed the delicious meals for several years, I somehow asked Frank who cooked them. I had assumed either his daughters or that he ordered the dishes. “me”, Frank replied with a smile. Of course, with immense g, Frank was good at many things in academia and life. I was lucky enough to have taken five doctoral seminars from Frank. They were five different seminars. I never heard of anyone else who taught five doctoral seminars. Frank was a giant in scholarship, mentoring, teaching, impact and so on. For me, Frank has always been and will always be a genuine, caring, and lovely elder. May you rest in peace, Dear Frank! You will be forever missed.

Gang Wang

Frank was an oasis of calm and reason.

Richard P. Phelps

Frank and I were colleagues at Iowa from when he arrived until January, ’89 when I moved to Oklahoma State. As I recall I was impressed that Frank joined our Iowa faculty. Perhaps I’m wrong but I think what might have swung the deal was Frank was good friends with Duane Thompson; they shared a love of bird hunting. And, Iowas has good bird hunting:)) I recall having lunch with Frank at Bruegger’s bagel shop across from the old business building, Phillips Hall and being impressed with his breadth of knowledge across a range of topics far beyond meta-analysis, VG, etc. Frank had a kind , soft way of explaining things in his pleasant, slight Kentucky accent. His legacy is not only his ground breaking research with Jack Hunter and others but, particularly, several of his stellar Ph D students. I hope SIOP and/or AOM creates a scholarship to honor his memory and contributions.

Thomas H. Stone

Dr. Frank Schmidt’s books and articles on Employee Selection and Assessments have always been a North Star in my work life. May he Rest In Peace. 🙏🏽

Jay Polaki

Each semester I encourage my students to reference his work as classic and useful in their ongoing future as practitioners. Vale and thank you for your contribution to better practice in important organisational decisions.

Tracy Martin

I greatly admire and respect Frank as a scholar and person. I consider him to be Mr. Meta-Analysis and he will have a lasting legacy. I predated Frank at Iowa, but as an alum, I always appreciated his contribution to the great reputation enjoyed by the Iowa Management Department.

Fred Luthans

#RIP Dr. Schmidt. Thank you for all your contributions to the field of business management research.

Ramesh Krishnan

We note with sorrow the recent passing of Frank L. Schmidt, Ph.D., professor emeritus, University of Iowa. His contributions to the field of industrial and organizational psychology are notable, largely because we often take the results of his work for granted as accepted knowledge today.
Because of his groundbreaking work in validity generalization and meta-analysis, who currently believes that it is reasonable to conduct a validation study with a limited number of participants? Hopefully, very few. Who currently believes that slight changes in a study (e.g., location of the study or specific job features) would render cognitive ability an invalid predictor of job performance? Hopefully, very few. Yet, these were prevalent beliefs prior to his publications with his colleague, the late John E. Hunter, Ph.D.
Their revolutionary research truly had more impact on the field of personnel selection than anyone else ever has. Not one to shy away from bold, controversial statements, Dr. Schmidt often made the claim that cognitive ability predicted job performance for all occupations in the U.S. economy. Such claims often encountered great resistance from other notable psychologists who would point to their studies (with small numbers of people) arguing that cognitive ability did not predict performance. Dr. Schmidt’s fortitude and willingness to rely on the data is what moved the science of our profession forward and enabled researchers to benefit from cumulated knowledge over time.
On the personal side, when in conversation with Dr. Schmidt at events, he gave you his full attention. Whether a peer with a “big name” or a graduate student with lots of ideas but no publication record to speak of, he treated people with respect and was generous with this time. He also mentored a number of distinguished scientists (far too many to name) who have continued the tradition of innovative and pioneering research.
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone [and] the courage to make tough decisions. … He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” (Gen. Douglas MacArthur)
[The thoughts expressed here are solely those of the author, not the organization with which she is affiliated.]

Deborah L. Whetzel

Frank’s biography on this web page certainly attests to the tremendous influence he has had on our field and that of many other scientific endeavors. However, comments on this “message” portion of the web page from his colleagues and former students are almost universally about Frank’s personal influence and character. The same is true for me, I appreciate his intellectual contributions, but remember most clearly and fondly our less formal interactions. Our personal biographies are similar in many ways. Frank was six weeks older than I; we both grew up on dairy farms with several brothers; we both went to parochial schools through college and then met in graduate school at Purdue. We attended many of the same classes and studied for comprehensive exams together. Frank went to Michigan State after Purdue and was instrumental in recruiting me to their Department of Psychology. He supported my tenure and promotion there and most recently wrote a very nice letter for my SIOP “living history.” Perhaps I remember most fondly a walk with him across the Iowa countryside where I grew up when I once visited him at University of Iowa. It was obvious he was very happy there and was anxious to share his Iowa life with anyone willing to listen. He was very kind and knowledgeable about a huge number of scientific and practical issues and enjoyed debate on these concerns. We communicated occasionally over the years and I will very much miss those interactions.

Neal Schmitt
More messages:

Frank was my intellectual father. I learned psychometrics, validity generalization, meta-analysis, personnel selection from him. He opened my eyes to the importance of general mental ability for everything we do in life. We shared a passion for individual differences research. We published much together. A gifted writer, he helped me develop my authorship. He was my mentor, my collaborator, but also my friend. We shared some of the most important happy and sad passages with each other (He gave me away at my wedding! We suffered at the loss of Jack Hunter together…). We celebrated and grieved, with a ton of intellectual exploration (books, articles, museums …), travel (Ireland, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Lake Tahoe), and exquisite food, in between. We knew each other’s families well, and shared health news. The world has lost a precious scholar of profound impact. Our field has lost a rare truthsayer. But he leaves a legacy behind. When a tree dies, it continues to nourish. Many times one or more of its scions grow where the mature tree once stood. May Frank rest in peace and may his legacy ever grow.

Deniz S. Ones

Frank is Frank or frank (my favorite joke to him) and scary smart, and he truly believes in his research, which sets him apart from others. There was and will be only one Frank. He will be sorely and dearly missed forever, though he still and will continue to live in my heart and work forever! Below is what I wrote in the acknowledgement section of my dissertation completed a while ago, which is still valid (predictive of what I want to say today). — Now, my very sincere and special thanks should go to my advisor, my mentor, my dissertation chair, and my friend, Dr. Frank Schmidt for his superb scholarship, support, and smile. He is the person who is not only smart but also highly conscientious, which forms the scientifically established best combination among all possible pairs of individual difference traits. I would want to say, once again here, that he has been and will be my inspiration and my role model I will keep emulating in my entire academic career. In retrospect, I made a few great choices in my life and coming to Iowa to work with him was certainly one of them. Frank, thank you for all you have done for me since my first day in Iowa when we ran across each other in the hallway to the department office. Even then, you recognized me.

In-Sue Oh

Over that last 34 years, Frank Schmidt has been the most influential person in my career. My thinking of science changed as I worked with him. He approached every question in a systematic and data-driven manner, fully cognizant of measurement principles. He was always ready to take on the big questions in our field. I still remember his 10-point guide to a successful career (focus on a socially relevant problem, know your statistics, etcetera). Thank you, Frank! Much as I celebrate Frank Schmidt the scholar, I also fondly remember him as the person who put everyone at ease. I particularly remember an incident in the summer of 1988. The Iowa management department was having a picnic when a stranger approached the group and started talking about a cause for which he was raising money. After he finished, there was an awkward silence, and the stranger felt embarrassed for having gate-crashed the picnic. But Frank Schmidt rose to the occasion and started asking questions about the cause. He engaged him as though we had just heard an “invited” talk! Today we have lost Frank Schmidt as an individual but he will continue to live in our memory. I once read that individual lives are like waves in an ocean. A wave may subside and cease to exist as a wave, but it still exists as part of the ocean. Frank Schmidt will always be a part of our intellectual landscape.

Chockalingam (Vish) Viswesvaran

The scientific community has just lost a giant! Frank’s life and works have certainly touched many, and we as a community today are sharing a huge loss with his untimely departure from this world. To me, the loss is quite personal as Frank has always been my mentor and father figure since I started my Ph.D. study back in 1998 (we even share the same birth date and Chinese zodiac sign!). He has shaped who I am professionally, and I owed everything I have achieved to date to Frank. Until recently, we were still talking about updating the meta-analysis program that accompanies his legendary book with Jack Hunter. Frank has never actually retired, so the news that he left us felt so unreal! I’m certain that many, many years from now, when most of us have been mostly forgotten, people will still remember Frank’s name and his contributions. He and his work will continue shaping the works of future generations of researchers in many ways.

Huy Le

Among other things Frank was an expert on the nature and genetic causes of intelligence. He was very firm about taking the science seriously despite the fact that the whole topic was widely viewed as morally dubious if not unacceptable.. There were not many psychologists who showed this kind of courage.

Edwin A. Locke

Frank and I did not always see eye to eye, and our exchanges in print could be sharp, but over the years I got to know Frank as a person. He was warm and generous, beloved by his students, and a model for our field. His keen and wide-ranging interests formed the basis for decades of warm correspondence that I will miss greatly. It is sad to see out field lose one of the greats.

Kevin Murphy

Frank Schmidt is an intellectual giant, who proved that the best lack neither all conviction nor common sense nor a sense of humor. His always curious, sometimes mischievous mind always noticed the crux of any issue. He taught me about good methods, clear writing, persistence, and intellectual courage. Though deeply missed, Frank will undoubtedly live on in his works because he knew that science is about seeking the truth rather than socially desirable theories. May we all honor his legacy by defending good scientific practice, reason, and cumulative knowledge against the swelling tsunami of institutional fads and fashions.

Marc Orlitzky

Frank was a brilliant scholar. The impact of his research on the I-O field is enormous. Frank was also an extraordinary teacher and mentor. He will be missed, but his legacy will continue through the work of the exceptional PhD students he trained at Iowa.

Mick Mount

Of all the scholars who shaped my thinking, Frank would be among the highest on the list. Even when we did not always agree, I always respected his viewpoint. I learned a great deal from him and from my (and his) doctoral students he mentored (who then taught me!). Frank was also unfailingly helpful and courageous. I remember once in a faculty meeting the dean openly rebuked me. Who was first to my defense? Frank was. I also remember the lighter side of Frank which was wonderful to see. In short, Frank was a titan of the field whose contributions have few equals, but it is humanity I will remember most fondly. I will miss him.

Tim Judge

As an undergrad, my introduction to I-O psychology was a class ON Frank Schmidt (not BY Frank Schmidt…): The majority of our Personnel Selection syllabus focused on his work, or work he and Jack Hunter made possible. When seeing him at conferences, I admired how – when he encountered someone who was wrong – he could be both forceful and kind when setting them straight.
Personally, there are so many things I will remember fondly: How nervous I was as a young grad student when Frank stood in front of my SIOP poster (a meta-analysis)… His mischievous grin when he looked at the results (strong correlations between ‘practical intelligence’ and GMA)… His generosity and genuine interest when he spent time with any of his (numerous) academic grandchildren. And that, whenever we talked about my home country, he gave me a 30-minute lecture on the quality of German-made hunting rifles. We will miss, but not forget you, Frank.

Stephan Dilchert

As a scientist, Frank was one of the clearest writers I’ve ever read. My own writing has been immensely impacted by him. Every day in my work, I see echoes of his ideas about replicability, validity, and scientific theory. As a person, Frank was immensely kind and optimistic about human nature. I cherish the opportunities I had to talk with him and the generosity he had giving me feedback and support in developing my scientific thinking.

Brenton Wiernik

A personal story: I emailed Dr. Schmidt in the early 2000s from outside the US. I was a graduate student without access to research. He not only replied to my email, he also mailed me copies of his publications and got me in touch with one of his students to help me with other questions. I will forever be grateful for his help. My condolences to his loved ones. A huge loss for the field.

Dan Ispas

As an alum of the HR/OB doctoral program at Iowa, I was one of the many students fortunate enough to take five PhD classes taught by Frank. He cared about each and every one of us and will always be missed. Thank you Frank for all you did throughout your career, not just the hundreds of intellectual contributions, but also for showing your care and concern for so many people on a personal level as well. You will never be forgotten.

Russell Guay

WOW – what a shame. A true giant in the field, and an eminent scholar. He was incredibly supportive of me and others when we were just starting out as graduate students and fumbling around trying out this “new thing” called meta-analysis. RIP Frank

John Mathieu

Only a few people change how we think about the world, either through their humanity and integrity, their intellectual acuity, or their courage. Frank was that rarest of people who was honest and generous, who was steadfast in his viewpoints, and whose insight and intelligence allowed him to conceptualize fundamental ideas and see their practical impact. Frank changed the way I, and many, many others, think about science and evidence. He leaves a fine and broad legacy, indeed.

Wendy L. Dunn

I met Frank as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, and he is the reason I became a validity researcher. I was in his individual differences course, and he shared my course paper with the vice-president of research at ACT, who then hired me as his research assistant. Frank later served on my dissertation committee, and after I graduated we published a few papers together. He pushed me first as a student and later as a researcher, and for that I am forever grateful. My fondest memories of Frank, however, are from the field. I asked Frank what brought him to the University of Iowa, and among the top reasons he gave was pheasant hunting. He persuaded me to try it, but beforehand we took a number of trips to his property along the river where he had me practice shooting clay pigeons. Practice was sometimes followed by machete work in the field, and other times by a bit of food and drink, but it was always a good time. Our one day of pheasant hunting was magnificent. He made it look so easy, and though I struggled at first he encouraged me throughout the day. Frank was a great teacher both in and outside of the classroom. He will be sorely missed.

Paul Westrick

Frank has been a model, a mentor, and a friend since we first met in Madrid (Spain) in 1994, when I attended a workshop on meta-analysis by Frank and Deniz Ones. He read all the drafts of my meta-analytic paper and his comments and suggestions were always a source of inspiration. To be among the bunch of people he regularly emailed papers, comments, and suggestions was my great fortune and honor. He will be remembered fondly and many of us will miss him. He was the most generous and supportive person for young researchers all over the world. In my view, his contributions with Jack Hunter changed the paradigm in personnel selection and many other areas. Really, this is a very, very sad day.

Jesus Salgado

About three decades ago, Don Clifton, Gallup’s Chairman at the time, asked Frank to come to Lincoln Nebraska to teach our team a series of weekend full credit courses on personnel psychology, individual differences, and meta-analysis methods. We began applying all of it immediately. This was all central to our employee engagement, selection, and strengths practices—our workplace scientific evolution over the past three decades. Frank’s depth of knowledge and teaching were second to none. Frank was not just an intellectual giant—he was a partner and friend. Over the years, he would invite and host several of us on our team to his home in Iowa City to stay for a couple days while we discussed with him our current projects to get his advice. There was never a wasted meeting with Frank Schmidt. Frank was a straight shooter who would recognize excellence and also call out faulty reasoning or methods. He brought clarity, efficiency, and he forced preparedness. Personally, Frank was one of a handful of the single most impactful mentors and collaborators I’ve had a chance to work with—and I’ve been very lucky in that regard. I’ve said many times, to others and to him, that he changed how I think about the complexity and practicality of science. He changed how I think, and that changed my career and my life. He loved being a Gallup Senior Scientist and to see the impact Gallup’s work is having on the world. Fortunately, great scientific legends like Frank Schmidt leave behind a treasure of research, writing, and teaching that will keep us all learning, growing, and impacting for a long time.

Jim Harter

Frank was my inspiration as a methodologist

Martin G. Evans

My relationship with Frank was one of the most formative of my life. I have never met anyone so broadly knowledgeable, and yet so focused. He must have had a lot of g to invest. Frank was thoughtful, warm, and generous. He always had time for graduate students and not just when we were a benefit to him. Two personal stories typify this and were very important to me personally. First, Frank called me into his office to talk to me and proceeded to compliment me on my intelligence. I protested. He smirked and said essentially “Well, you won the department fantasy football league didn’t you”. Everything is a measurement of cognitive ability. I think Frank knew that I needed some additional encouragement since I was a small farm town kid like him. He had a way encouraging me that was sincere but playful. A nice boost to my generalized self-efficacy. Second, Frank would have me to his house and then we would head out pheasant hunting. We talked broadly and enjoyed the Iowa countryside. He never expected anything in return. I barely hunted at that point in my life and have not hunted since, but there was no way I was passing up time with this great human. He role modeled to me the value of a well-rounded life. It is important to note that I wasn’t one of his graduate students and I wasn’t one of the star students in program. These things didn’t seem to matter all that much to Frank. I was a part of the Iowa tribe so he was generous in ways he thought I would appreciate. What a blessing!

Todd Darnold

It was my privilege, along with all my PhD classmates in the Department of Management and Organizations (now Management and Entrepreneurship) to have Frank as an instructor for several doctoral seminars. I think I was half-scared and half-inspired by Frank during those years! He is probably still the most brilliant scholar that I have ever met and was certainly impactful on all of us students in the way we think about research. I was also amazed at his depth of knowledge on other topics outside of our discipline. I don’t know that I have ever met a more intellectually curious person in my life. But my favorite memory of Frank was not in the classroom, but rather, at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Near the end of my doctoral studies, I brought my little family of three children to the county fair one summer when our oldest was just five years old. As we entered the fair, there was a display of antique tractors that we began exploring. We randomly bumped into Frank, who greeted me warmly. It was the first time that he had ever met my family, and he saw that my oldest was particularly curious about the tractors. Having grown up on a farm and also having read about antique tractors (among many other odd subjects!), Frank began giving my son a personalized tour of each and every tractor displayed at the fair. In the meantime, he recounted stories of his own farm upbringing. I think we were with him for over 30 minutes just hearing him reminisce and teach about tractors. It was a fun and heartwarming experience, and one that I will never forget. Frank, thank you for inspiring generations of scholars with your intellect and wisdom. But most of all, thank you for the attention you showed my family on a day at the fair — something way outside your job description. You will be truly missed.

Steve Courtright

Even though considerably junior to him. I had the privilege of serving with Frank on several collegiate committees. I was amazed by the intellectual rigor and the humanity that he brought to the problem at hand. He is truly a scholar and a gentleman. I just chatted with him two weeks ago at Riverside theater, and cannot believe that he is gone.

Ramji Balakrishnan
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