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A college professor in New York City remembers his life-changing moment – the day he entered the fourth-grade classroom of Rob Snyder ’67 at St. Luke’s School in Greenwich Village. Snyder taught him what it meant to be a student and inspired his educational journey, allowing him, in turn, to inspire others.
One mother told Snyder in September that her daughter was a talented writer who loved to read but was bored by numbers. By the end of that year, her daughter felt as if she was good at math for the very first time.
Moments like those confirm what Snyder has always known—that teaching is his life’s true passion and purpose. After 38 years at St. Luke’s, he retired this year to become its director of alumni relations. A 2011 Blackboard Award for Excellence in teaching given by Manhattan Media and Fordham University was a fitting capstone to an illustrious career.
“Teaching is never static; there are always new methods, new technologies, new approaches to learn and employ,” says Snyder, who earned a master’s degree in media studies from The New School for Social Research in 1981. “Teachers, good teachers, are learners as well. We never stop growing.”
Although he’s an avid theater fan, Snyder hates being in the spotlight, but was the star of several events to celebrate the Blackboard Award and his years at St. Luke’s. At a school ceremony, Roseanne Cash and her husband, John Leventhal, performed a seven-song concert of Snyder’s favorite Cash tunes. Snyder taught two of Cash’s children and worked with her youngest daughter, Carrie, a teacher in the afterschool program.
Bart Baldwin, head of St. Luke’s, said they gathered to celebrate a “gifted teacher and exemplary career,” and commented on how moving it is to find one person who exemplifies all St. Luke’s holds dear: its mission, values, compassion, and shared vision to serve children.
NBC news correspondent Kate Snow hosted the Blackboard Awards ceremony at Fordham and read comments from parents and students who were impacted by Snyder over the years.
Entering Moravian as an elementary education major with an English minor, Snyder knew what, but not who, he wanted to be. The professors who took the time to connect with students molded the nurturing mentor he became. And his undergrad friends remain close even today.
“I came to Moravian a very unformed and uninformed 18-year-old from a small town in New Jersey,” he recalls. “Four years later, I was a very different person. By the time I was a senior, I had a much better sense of who I was and where I wanted to go. The seeds were planted in Bethlehem by the friends I made and our lives together.”
"Good teachers are learners as well. We never stop growing."