Remembering, Supporting Veterans
Confidential donors choose MU for $1 million student veteran scholarship donation.
Jack Schannep was 12 years old when his father, Col. Dwight B. Schannep, died in 1946 in a military plane crash over Japan, leaving behind a wife and four sons. He never met his youngest son, who was 3 months old at the time.
Born in Versailles, Mo., Dwight Schannep also left behind a deep sense of patriotism in his children. “Both [of us] older sons went to [the U.S. Military Academy at] West Point out of hero worship and flew airplanes like our dad,” Jack says in a phone interview Wednesday morning from his home in Tucson, Ariz. All four sons joined the military.
Dwight Schannep’s example of service will live on past his children at Mizzou with an endowed scholarship fund in his honor for student veterans.
Two confidential donors, one of whom is a friend of the Schannep family, have pledged $1 million from their estate to support the Col. Dwight B. Schannep U.S. Army Air Corps Veterans Scholarship Fund.
As the oldest son, Jack Schannep has the most complete memories of his father — a trip in a B-17 bomber on his 10th birthday still figures large. But he felt closer to him after he followed in his footsteps at West Point.
“There were still some officers on active duty who had been contemporaries of my dad and knew him,” he said. “That was thrilling.”
Dwight Schannep served nearly all of World War II stateside near his family. As chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps’ Training and Operations Section at Patterson Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) near Dayton, Ohio, he developed a training program that became the standard operating procedure throughout the Air Service Command.
“He was organized, highly regarded, but a fun guy as best I can tell,” Jack says.
Jack, 79, says he and his brothers are “very thrilled” their father’s memory will survive at Mizzou.
The scholarship donors had no previous relationship to MU but chose to give to the university because of its quality programs and the Veterans Center. Their wish is for the scholarship to support students for their entire academic career at Mizzou — from a bachelor’s degree to a graduate or professional degree if that’s their wish.
Chancellor Brady J. Deaton announced the gift commitment in a Nov. 13 ceremony at Memorial Union. He was joined by Tom Hiles, vice chancellor for Advancement; Carol Fleischer, director of the Veterans Center; and John Quade, a student veteran and president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association.
In his remarks, Brady said the donors told him they hoped the scholarship recipients would seek political office and work toward peace.
Quade, a sophomore statistics major who spent four years in the U.S. Marines and served tours in Afghanistan, gave life to that hope. “No one prays more intensely for peace as those who’ve experienced war,” he said.
Following the announcement, Deaton and Marty Walker, director of administrative services in the College of Engineering and chair of the Chancellor’s Military and Veterans Committee, unveiled a new interactive memorial to MU veterans in the lobby of Memorial Union’s north wing.
Designed by senior architectural student Karen Johnson, the memorial fills the lobby’s north wall. It features five hard-foam replicas of the Columns in a version of the Air Force’s missing-man formation. A beam of light takes the place of the missing sixth column, akin to the Tribute in Light near Ground Zero in New York. Adjacent to the columns are glass panels that will feature the names of MU’s military alumni killed in service and a touch-screen panel where visitors can find information on any MU faculty, staff or student who served in the military.
Most of the memorial’s panels are currently empty. Mizzou has no records of alumni killed in the Korean or Vietnam wars, something Walker says is slowly being rectified by cross-referencing the names of Missouri soldiers killed with names of MU students — a laborious task, as the records are not computerized.
The initial inspiration for the memorial came to Johnson immediately, she says. Her father, who flew planes for the U.S. Navy, took her to many air shows while she was growing up. When Newton D’Souza, associate professor of architectural studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, assigned the design of a new veterans memorial to the Studio 4 class, Johnson’s childhood air show memories of the missing-man formations jumped to mind.
“I was walking to class [along Francis Quadrangle] one day, and I thought, what if one of those Columns went missing?” Johnson says. “That would have a huge impact on the area. The news would be covering it. But when we miss one soldier, we don’t have that impact.”