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Student connection endures for retiring professor/alumnus

With an undergraduate degree in chemistry from RIT (1956) and a Ph.D. in metallurgy from Iowa State University (1960), Robert Snyder went to work as a research engineer for Ford Motor Co. and then as a research scientist for American Standard Inc.

Retiring professor Robert Snyder and his wife, Norma Snyder, have stablished a scholarship.
He gave up his budding career in industry after six years to join the RIT faculty. "I had teaching in my blood," says Snyder, who retired in June after 34 years with the mechanical engineering department. He began just before RIT moved from downtown Rochester to the Henrietta campus. Since then, he's witnessed "mind-boggling" changes both in the physical facilities of the university and in the student population, which has become much more diverse.

Snyder is reminded of the constantly changing face of the university on a regular basis. As a key tour guide for the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, he's shepherded hundreds of prospective students through the building. Snyder also plays an important role as students complete their years at RIT: For 20 years, he served as marshal for the college's commencement ceremony the perfect job for someone who describes himself as "the ultimate detail guy."

Among many achievements, Snyder is especially proud of four. First was receiving a Ph.D. Then, because he doesn't hold a degree in engineering, in 1971 he took the New York state professional engineering exam and passed. Another dearly held honor came in 1979, when he received the Eisenhart Oustanding Teaching Award. This past year, he was named distinguished educator by his professional organization, the Materials Engineering Institute of ASM International (formerly the American Society for Metals).

Well-known for his dedication to students, Snyder and his wife took the step of establishing an endowed scholarship. Norma Snyder also has been actively involved with the university, serving as president of RIT's Women's Council from 1993 1995 and, in that capacity, as a member of the RIT Board of Trustees.

Beginning in the 2001 2002 school year, the Robert L. and Norma M. Snyder NRS Scholarship will be awarded annually to a third- or fourth-year student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.