Richard “Dick” Schmidt, a leading figure in the fields of applied linguistics and SLA passed away on March 15, 2017. Dick was my professor, advisor, mentor, confidante, and dear friend. He guided me throughout my MA and Ph.D. studies, and I worked for him at the NFLRC (National Foreign Language Resource Center) during that time. I was honored to have him on my MA and Ph.D. committees. We kept in touch after I graduated, and he often wrote to tell me he missed our coffee chats and asked me to make it back for a visit. I’m sorry I didn’t make it back in time. He always supported me in my career and in life. One thing I truly admire about him is that he lived. He was never afraid of life or selfish with his time or advice. He embraced people and adventure—and his curiosity and desire to solve puzzles was unparalleled. Like all who knew him, I’ll miss him dearly.
Here’s the write-up from the NFLRC website:
It is with great sadness that we announce that Dr. Richard (Dick) Schmidt passed away on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Dick was the longest serving director for the National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), from 1994 through 2012, when he retired. He left a lasting and indelible mark on the field of Applied Linguistics and all who came to know and work with him – fellow researchers and colleagues to graduate students to friends.
Dick was a full professor in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Following completion of his doctorate in linguistics (specializing in Arabic linguistics), he spent his career engaged in the training of second and foreign language teachers, including teacher-training projects in Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Spain, and Egypt. His primary research areas concerned cognitive and affective factors in adult second and foreign language learning —including the role of attention and awareness and the importance of motivation in learning— as well as the problems of learning and teaching difficult, less commonly-taught languages. He wrote many pivotal and much cited articles in these areas. His most recent book was the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 4th Edition. He was chair of the Language Resource Center Council of Directors for two years, President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) in 2003-04, and was the 2009 recipient of the AAAL Distinguished Service and Scholarship Award. In 2013, the NFLRC published a festschrift in his honor: Noticing and Second Language Acquisition: Studies in Honor of Richard Schmidt, where an international array of researchers spoke of the impact of his Noticing Hypothesis on their research over the years and into the future.
Dick will be sorely missed. We send our Aloha to his family and loved ones in this difficult time.