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Mar 18 2014
Applauding Alumni: Lou Schmidt
By: Holly Blust Category: Alumni

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Applauding Alumni:
Lou Schmidt, BBA 1990, MSF 1997

Alumnus Lou Schmidt, president of the
HoneyBaked Ham Company of Michigan, has endowed a scholarship that draws on his Walsh legacy and the success of his family’s business. He specified that applicants for the Louis C. and Mary Schmidt Endowed Scholarship be enrolled in a degree program with an emphasis in either finance or marketing.

Schmidt focused his studies on finance, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration (’90) and Master of Science in Finance (’97). But marketing has been a key factor in growing the family business and building an iconic American brand. His grandfather, Harry Hoenselaar, invented the spiral-slicing machine and founded The HoneyBaked Ham Company in Detroit in 1957. Today, branches of the family operate more than 400 stores. From the divisional headquarters in Troy, Schmidt oversees operations in seven states.

After high school, Schmidt attended Hillsdale College, but came back home to work in the family business instead of completing his degree. A few years later when he was ready to resume his education, he choose the BBA program at Walsh. “By this time I had my career in front of me and knew what I needed and wanted out of college. At Walsh, I actually was able to apply what I learned on a daily basis,” said Schmidt.

His favorite instructors – Dr. Theodore Hoffman and Harry Veryser – were both from the Finance Department. “They made learning enjoyable and opened up a whole new world in business and economics. I learned so much as an undergrad that I knew I wanted to return later for a master’s degree in finance.”

Following in his footsteps at Walsh, daughter Lauren earned a master’s degree in management in 2007 and Lou Jr. just graduated with a MS in finance. Schmidt’s directive to his son was “go out and work for someone else for five years. Learn how to take care of yourself and develop a skill set that you can bring back to HoneyBaked.” Having done that, his son now
represents the fourth generation in the family business. He is director of operations, in charge of alternative distribution – the 32 temporary stores that open up during the holiday season.

About the time his son started work on a masters, Schmidt accepted a post on the Walsh College Foundation Board, the school’s fund-raising arm. “I was at a point in my career where I could give back and encourage other Walsh alumni to get involved.”

“Walsh has been good to me and my family. I can’t imagine getting a better education. With the scholarship, we hope to help along a student who aspires to be a successful business person – someone who is hard-working and driven to contribute at a higher level.”
Lou Schmidt, president of the HoneyBaked Ham Company


Please join Walsh College in applauding Lou Schmidt in his continued success by adding your comments below.

To nominate an alumnus to applaud, contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Manager at (248) 823-1298.


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