September 21, 2021

Schollmaier Leaves Lasting Legacy with TCU Athletics

The Alcon CEO supported multiple TCU initiatives and served on the Board of Trustees.

B 15-12-13 Dedication ceremony, Schollmaier Arena, Dec. 15, 2015 Photos by Glen Ellman

Photo by Glen E. Ellman

September 21, 2021

Schollmaier Leaves Lasting Legacy with TCU Athletics

The Alcon CEO supported multiple TCU initiatives and served on the Board of Trustees.

Ed Schollmaier, a longtime Horned Frog basketball supporter and astute Fort Worth businessman, died Sept. 16.

As president and CEO of Alcon Laboratories, he led a growth in sales at the eye care product company from $25 million to $2 billion over 25 years. At Alcon, everyone addressed Schollmaier as Ed, and he could speak about each employee’s importance to the business, said son Taylor Schollmaier.

After retiring, Ed Schollmaier shared his business acumen with Neeley School of Business students in an MBA course on strategic competitiveness.

TCU vs Texas women's basketball at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas on January 10, 2018. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

Ed Schollmaier attended TCU basketball games for 50 years. After his death, Raegan Pebley, TCU Women’s Basketball coach, posted a tribute on Twitter: “Mr. Schollmaier stole my heart on day 1. His spirit as a builder is a part of his legacy. He built more than a building. He built dreams and pathways. He built cultures and connections. He built a foundation for what it means to be a part of the Frog Family. Thank you, my friend.” Courtesy of TCU Athletics | Photo by Sharon Ellman

Not shying away from discussions about money, God or politics, Schollmaier saw disagreements as ways to set up future conversations, Taylor Schollmaier said. “He would coach people in the business school that how you disagree is maybe more important than how you agree — finding comfort in disagreement and conflict, seeing it as an opportunity to learn.”

Ed Schollmaier’s own disagreements would often end with a big hug, his son said.

Away from work, Schollmaier’s focus was on being present with his family, Taylor Schollmaier said. “I always felt when I was playing with my dad or working on homework, I always had his full love and attention.”

Elected to the TCU Board of Trustees in 1996, Ed Schollmaier chaired the building and grounds committee. His tenure marked an era of rapid facility modernization and expansion.

In 1997 he received TCU’s Honorary Alumni Award. He and wife Rae were presented TCU’s Horizon Award in 1999 and the Royal Purple Award in 2002.

The couple helped the TCU School of Music become an All-Steinway School in 1998 and supported the KinderFrogs School and the William E. and Jean Jones Tucker Technology Center.

They provided the naming gift for the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Practice Complex, which opened in 2004, and the lead gift for the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

Schollmaier was passionate about basketball and enjoyed watching high-level college basketball in Fort Worth. “Over time it got into his blood,” Taylor Schollmaier said. “He started wearing more purple on the outside, and I think he was bleeding purple as well.”

Schollmaier had been regularly attending TCU basketball games for five decades.

B 15-12-13 Photos by Glen Ellman

At the dedication of the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena in 2015, Ed Schollmaier sunk the facility’s first basket. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

When the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena opened in 2015, less than two months after Rae Schollmaier died, Ed Schollmaier spoke a wish: “I hope that the city of Fort Worth adopts TCU basketball the same way it’s adopted TCU football.”

The opening of the new basketball stadium helped propel the Horned Frog men to their 2017 National Invitation Tournament victory.

In the 2019-20 season, TCU set program records for season tickets sold and average attendance.

“Mr. Schollmaier had a tremendous passion for basketball,” said Jeremiah Donati, TCU’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “It is an honor for our basketball student-athletes every time they step on the court in Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.”

After games, Schollmaier would call his son in Colorado to ask if he watched. No matter the answer, Schollmaier would recount the game.

“I’m going to miss so much, watching games on TV and not seeing his little white head there,” Taylor Schollmaier said. “I’d know he was at the game.”