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Lisa (Preston) Schmidt ’88

A License to Make a Difference

When Lisa (Preston) Schmidt arrived at the Air Force Academy in 1984 she already possessed her private pilot’s license. In fact, she had it before her driver’s license. “I was excited to attend USAFA knowing that I could only begin to fathom the unexpected places, geographically and figuratively, it would take me,” says the Long Island native. After building a rewarding career in the Air Force and beyond, she gained an appreciation for immense impact USAFA introduced into her life.

“Many of the insights, experiences, skills and professional network elements I possess today were rooted in, or enhanced during, my time as a cadet. I’m very thankful to have been part of that learning environment which held the bar high with much purpose.”

Being the daughter of educators, Lisa easily acknowledges the positive difference that can result in an individual’s life thanks to instructive exposure. For that reason, she began to think forward about how direct results of her actions could serve to promote such opportunities. Lisa commented “I believe many people think they have to be on par with the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to consider the option of estate gifts. When I allowed myself to really explore the thought freely, I was surprised to realize the benefits my personal contribution stood to make. It actually gives me a true and distinctive sense of satisfaction to be able to give back in this way.” Ultimately, Lisa chose to offer her future support by arranging for a planned gift to USAFA, for which she is recognized by the Polaris Society.

She laughs to add “Heck, I wouldn’t even have my amazing husband and adventure buddy were it not for the Academy!” Her husband is Jeff Schmidt, also a 1988 grad (lifetime AOG member) and they are happily active in the community of San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to helping to secure an exceptional future for cadets who will join you on the long blue line, a bequest or life-income gift to the USAFA Endowment may also lessen the tax burden on your family and estate.

For information and assistance, contact Dale Zschoche at or 719.238.7510.