Opening Minds USA™ Honors WTTW’s President and CEO Daniel J. Schmidt with its Lifetime Achievement Award

January 7th, 2015

CHICAGO– Opening Minds USA™ today announced WTTW’s President and CEO Daniel J. Schmidt is the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Schmidt will be honored at a private reception on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 from 6-9 pm at the Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654.


“Dan’s leadership and commitment to producing award-winning, public programming that advances early childhood education makes him the ideal choice for this honor,” said Gail Conway, CEO of Opening Minds.


Like Opening Minds, WTTW Kids is a resource for young children and the educators, families and communities that embrace their role in the shared responsibility for their education and well-being.  As one of the most-watched public television stations in the country, WTTW Kids entertains and educates thousands of children aged 2-11 daily throughout Chicago’s diverse community and beyond.


Schmidt began his career in the broadcasting industry at WHA Television and Radio in Madison, Wisconsin in 1977.  He holds a M.A. in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and studied at Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute.  From 1979-1991, Schmidt held a variety of management positions with Minnesota Public Radio, including General Manager of a five-station group.


Since assuming his role as President and CEO of WTTW in July of 1998, the station increased local and national production substantially. Moreover, Schmidt spearheaded a successful $52 million capital campaign and secured $47.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education to launch WTTW’s entry as a major player in PBS’s “Ready to Learn” line-up, plus another $37 million for the transmedia property UMIGO, currently in its 5th year in development. WTTW11 reaches 1.9 million weekly viewers over a four-state area.


The Opening Minds Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals throughout the world who advance the field of early childhood development and education. Now in its third year, previous honorees include: early childhood pioneer and University of Illinois professor emerita of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Lilian Katz for her trailblazing work in early childhood education; and education and Chicago music legend and First Lady of Children’s Music, Ella Jenkins for her contributions to and advocacy in music education for children.


Opening Minds USA™ is the trusted advisor and resource for professionals and organizations that educate and care for young children. We design experiences, offer novel solutions and put good ideas to use to advance the entire early care and education industry for a global community. To learn more, visit us at


MEDIA CONTACT:  Priscilla Hunter: 312.286.6624 [m] or