On January 12, 2024, Dan ’73 and Joanne Schmitt received the Champions for Philanthropy Award in recognition of their decades of investment in the Bryant University community. Dan, a former member of Bryant’s Board of Trustees, and Joanne were celebrated for their lifetime of dedication to Bryant in a special ceremony in their honor held in Palm Beach, Florida.
“I’m not a big splash guy,” Dan says, modestly, of his philanthropy, “but I’ve tried to be consistent.” He says he and Joanne have prioritized Bryant in their giving to make a difference for students with financial need since the 1980s. Together with fellow Bryant Trustee Karl Ericson ’58, ’91H and others, Dan created the KPMG Endowed Scholarship at Bryant, now known as the Scholarship by KPMG Retired Partners. Since it began, the scholarship has provided financial assistance to more than 50 Bryant accounting majors with high GPAs. “The best thing we can do,” says Dan, “is help provide an education to somebody who otherwise can’t afford it.”
Dan has stayed connected to his alma mater through the years by serving two separate terms on the Board of Trustees. He also facilitated a grant from the Warren Alpert Foundation, where he is also a Trustee, helping to establish the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences and Bryant’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program. “It’s a home run,” says Dan of the PA program, which now boasts more than 130 alumni. As the demand for qualified healthcare professionals continues to grow, Bryant is committed to training outstanding physician assistants who can provide competent, patient-centered care, helping to fill a critical need in Rhode Island and beyond. The Warren Alpert Foundation’s grant was critical in establishing the successful and acclaimed program at the University.
After graduating from Bryant in 1973, Dan began his career at the accounting firm then known as Peat Marwick Mitchell, which later became KPMG. He spent his entire 39-year career with the firm, including 30 as a partner, retiring in 2011. He was the lead audit partner for some of the firm’s largest clients, including Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon, GE Capital, and others, and he oversaw risk management for the firm’s western area – “from Hawaii to Denver and everything in between,” as he puts it – and, later, the Northeast. He also served as a teacher for KPMG’s internal training programs. “That was something I volunteered for,” says Dan of the training. “I enjoyed the teaching aspect.” The week-long programs took place all over the country, with all levels of professional development opportunities, from new hires to senior level management training. “I taught them all,” Dan says.
Dan and Joanne now live in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they enjoy golfing in the warm weather and their proximity to their two children and three grandchildren in California. They recently celebrated both their 50th wedding anniversary and Dan’s 50th Bryant Reunion in 2023. “We got married the day after classes ended at Bryant,” says Dan. “We went on our honeymoon for a week in Bermuda, then they had the official Commencement. It was an interesting year for us.”