Alumna Spotlight: Connie DeMent Schmidt

Former Giants fastpitch softball player accepts home plate as a memento

Connie DeMent Schmidt recently returned to the Inver Hills Community College campus to accept a memento from her time playing first base for the Giants, the college’s NJCAA fastpitch softball team that won the 1977 Minnesota Community College Women’s Softball Championship. Inver Hills Interim President Michael Berndt presented Connie with home plate from the field where she played home games on the Inver Grove Heights campus. Kimberly Shaff, Inver Hills Foundation development director, was also on hand for the presentation.

“I wanted to play sports in elementary school and junior high,” Connie said, “but I had asthma, which back then meant I wasn’t even considered during tryouts. The Giants beat Normandale to become the Minnesota junior college champions the year I played, which was extremely satisfying since I wasn’t given the chance to play until then.”

“Going to a community college is a very smart thing to do. Very few kids know what they want to do with their lives. A two-year college helps you figure out what you want to study before you go to a four-year.”

— Connie DeMent Schmidt, Inver Hills Alumna, Class of 1978

Connie earned an Associate of Arts (A.A.) at Inver Hills. She worked part-time at Target while going to school to cover her college expenses. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Education K–12 at Minnesota State University, Mankato (formerly Mankato State University). Connie minored in Athletic Training and Adaptives and earned her Coaching certificate.

“I started working at 1st Bank in St. Paul back when you needed a four-year degree to be a teller,” Connie recalled. “I worked in the banking field in the Twin Cities and the surrounding area for twenty-seven years.”

Connie concluded her banking career as a community relations officer at Lake Area Bank in Lindstrom, Minnesota, to begin a 14-year career in social services. Today, she works for Gertens in the garden center’s corporate office.

“Inver Hills Community College gave me the chance to earn a degree, make lifelong friends and play sports,” Connie said. “Inver is a great school. I’m grateful for everything I got from my time there!”

More about Connie…

Originally from South St. Paul, Minnesota, Connie graduated from South St. Paul High School in 1976. She has two daughters, Alicia, 32, a fitness instructor, and Jordanne, 28, a supply chain specialist at Andersen Corporation. She has two grandchildren, Odin, 4, and Rayne, 6. Connie has one dog, Squeak, an 8-year-old Chihuahua.

“Squeak is a rescue dog,” Connie said. “He came from a puppy mill where they turned a hose on the dogs if they barked. Therefore, he very rarely makes any noise except when he makes a squeaking sound to get my attention.”

In her free time, Connie enjoys walking and hiking. She also paints wall frescoes as a hobby. “I bought an original painting on a trip overseas,” she said. “I decided to expand the painting by creating a fresco around its frame. I’ve done that for a number of paintings at my house.”

Connie resides with Squeak in Inver Grove Heights near the campus of her alma mater.

Connie Schmidt Q & A

Connie Schmidt
Connie Schmidt

Why did you choose Inver Hills?
The proximity to my home for one thing. I also didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. I knew a lot of kids who went to Inver and loved it. The college seemed like a good place to start.

What did you like best about Inver Hills?
The college’s teachers made learning interesting and fun. They inspired me to study teaching at Mankato State.

Three words that describe you as an Inver Hills alumna:

What advice would you give students thinking about attending a community college?
Going to a community college is a very smart thing to do. Very few kids know what they want to do with their lives. A two-year college helps you figure out what you want to study before you go to a four-year.

Why is it important for Inver Hills alumni to stay connected to the college?
So many kids have a hard time staying in college. I finished five years of college with no debt. Every job I’ve had centered on my education. I served for several years on the Inver Hills Alumni Board. We would go into the classroom to talk with students. Sharing my experience was a way showing how important it is to never give up.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Inver Hills Giants Fastpitch Softball 1977 MCC Women's Softball Champion
Inver Hills Giants Fastpitch Softball 1977 MCC Women’s Softball Champions

Connie Schmidt 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Hiking
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Italy
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Winning the junior college state championship
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Give most of the money away 2) Continue my education and help others with scholarships 3) Travel
  5. Favorite TV show of all time: Happy Days
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: To Kill a Mockingbird
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be the best caregiver I can be.
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Bald eagle
  9. Dream occupation: Painter/artist
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Barack Obama
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Painting
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Racism
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