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Dr. William Snyder Honored with Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award

Public Relations
Posted: Friday Apr 25, 2014

April 25, 2014

Dr. William Snyder, professor of English in the Saint Vincent College School of Humanities and Fine Arts, was honored with the presentation of the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award at the Saint Vincent College spring Honors Convocation on April 23 in Saint Vincent Basilica.

Named for the founder of Saint Vincent and the pioneer of Benedictine monasticism in the United States, the Boniface Wimmer Award recognizes a senior faculty member for sustained teaching excellence.

In addition, Saint Vincent nominated Snyder for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Professor of the Year Award, a national competition.

Snyder earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Vincent College and a masters and Ph.D. in English from West Virginia University.

Snyder is the founding director of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program here at Saint Vincent, and served as Director of Freshman English. He has been a member of numerous college committees and has pursued a variety of initiatives to benefit students.

“Dr. Snyder is both a champion for and exemplar of the liberal arts,” commented Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs, in making the presentation. “His decade-long leadership of a project to place thought-provoking, inspiring artwork in classrooms around campus provides just one of many possible examples.”

“This academic year is Dr. Snyder’s 40th year teaching in higher education,” Smetanka continued. “Throughout this time he has been a consistent innovator and involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning on a regional and national level. He certainly shows no signs of slowing down in this or any other regard – and we are very thankful for that. Most recently he has integrated digital technologies to embrace hybrid approaches to his courses.”

“Students’ voices provide an insight into Dr. Snyder’s classrooms,” Smetanka concluded. “From his British Literature class, one student wrote that Dr. Snyder really cares about teaching and, no matter how much some of his students might hate him at the time, they always benefit intellectually from his classes. From his Intermediate Writing class, another student wrote that Dr. Snyder is, as far as grading is concerned, one tough cookie. He makes us work, he doesn't cut corners; neither should we.” Another student reflected that living up to his standards has been hugely beneficial to my growth as a student. Rarely have I ever felt so driven to succeed by a professor. His one-on-one interviews have been the most valuable learning experience.” From these and many other comments you see that Dr. Snyder courageously holds students to consistent, high standards – demanding a higher quality of writing and/or understanding of literature than they initially thought they were capable. To accomplish this, he meets students where they are and provides the necessary scaffolding for them to reach the lofty heights he expects. He also works diligently to make his courses relevant to 21st century students – as one student put it: “His use of humorous and contemporary examples turns what could be a boring discussion into something entertaining and enjoyable. Saint Vincent College has benefited tremendously from Dr. Snyder’s commitment to his students, generosity to his colleagues and his love of the liberal arts.”

In his acceptance remarks, Snyder expressed appreciation especially to English majors. “You don’t know this, but you are part of a group that has amazed me over the entire time I have been a teacher,” he said. “I have taken great delight in seeing various groups of students – Generation X, Generation Y, Millennials, Grungers, Hipsters, Nerds, Bohos, Headbangers – and recognizing the same eternal flame of love for literature and language that I was able to experience with my own group of majors from 1969-1973. We felt that we were held together by a devotion to study of a field as old as any other; I have the special privilege and joyous realization that my generation and yours are continuing the important conversation about great ideas, or about human experiences, in wondrous, and sometimes beautifully disturbing, poetry and prose.”

Snyder’s wife, Rebecca, is a Saint Vincent summa cum laude graduate in English, and is currently a secondary teacher in the Greater Latrobe School District. She is the 2009 Pennsylvania public school Teacher of the Year. They live in Ligonier and have a son, William Vincent, 13.


Photo: Dr. William Snyder, left, professor of English, accepts the Boniface Wimmer Faculty Award from Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president of Saint Vincent College. 

Watch the Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLluwmbwgOY&index=3&list=PLBCUpgiWdqG-4sRlDIbKvZmLqNkLW48zd 


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