Honorary Doctor of Science
Wendy Schmidt is a philanthropist and investor who has spent nearly two decades creating innovative non-profit organizations to work with communities around the world for clean, renewable energy, resilient food systems, healthy oceans and the protection of human rights.
Through her grant-making and investing with the Schmidt Family Foundation, founded in 2006 with her husband Eric, communities from the Navajo Nation in Arizona to the Democratic Republic of the Congo have access to clean solar and micro-hydropower energy and the economic, social and educational opportunities that come with reliable power.
The Envision Resilience Challenge, a project of another organization Schmidt founded, ReMain Nantucket, calls on professionals and students to develop solutions for communities facing sea-level rise. The Challenge began in Nantucket before moving in 2022 to Narragansett Bay, where the six participating universities included URI, Rhode Island School of Design and Roger Williams University.
The first woman and first American to win the world’s largest sailing race, the Barcolana 54 in 2022, Schmidt co-founded 11th Hour Racing to work with the sailing community and maritime industry to advance sustainable solutions and practices. Based in Newport, Rhode Island, 11th Hour has worked to raise awareness of the importance of ocean health.
Schmidt has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, and she graduated magna cum laude from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology.