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Professors Holowaty and Snyder reflect on 40+ year careers

By John Rogan

Saint Vincent College has a student and teacher population that is filled with vibrantly cultured individuals, as befits its nearly 180-year history. As such, there are those who have been at the college long enough to witness the myriad of changes that Saint Vincent had gone through since its initial establishment in 1846.

To get an insight on the changing state of the college, their own personal experiences and relationships with it, and how they as individuals and professionals through the years, interviews were held with Thomas Holowaty, associate professor of business administration, and Dr. William Snyder, professor of English. These faculty members are the first- and third-longest serving professors at Saint Vincent College, respectively.

“Yes, 1973 grad,” said Snyder, regarding his past as a student of Saint Vincent College. “Much of the artwork in many classrooms and hallways was funded by the guys in my class!”

Snyder’s teaching career began in 1976, in a vastly different environment to 2019’s Saint Vincent.

“Saint Vincent was all-men until 1983,” Snyder said.

Snyder also spoke of the vastly diversified student body Saint Vincent has developed since, saying that “there were only one or two female professors before then, [and] one or two minorities.”

Holowaty said that he began his teaching career at Saint Vincent in the fall of 1972

“All instructors were either Benedictine or male […] much smaller. I think the [population] was about 950.”

Similar to Snyder, Holowaty commented on the progress of diversity that Saint Vincent College has experienced since 1972.

“It’s the opposite of all-male; coed, much larger institution, much larger, diverse faculty, certainly most of the students were second generation college students, as in their parents went to college, which wasn't the case back [in the 1970s],” Holowaty said.

Snyder stated that the one thing about the school he loves that has not changed are qualities held by the students.

“[…] SVC has always had a collection of students who are bright, caring, creative, focused and in love with ideas and intellect,” Snyder said.

Snyder said that everything else he has encountered over the years pales in comparison to the privilege he has been given to guide and inspire these students.

“In addition, every ‘generation’ of students has provided something beautiful that has rotated into my world and keeps my job from getting stale,” Snyder said.

“Every student has a phone,” commented Holowaty on the biggest changes at Saint Vincent College since 1972. “I don't know if that’s good or bad, but that’s certainly a major difference in the institution.”

Holowaty was positive on the growth of the educational aspect of Saint Vincent College, and was very much in favor of the “expanding the number of majors” and the “diversification of students.” He added that the facilities are “substantially better.”

“One of the things you really have to do is stay current,” Holowaty said about advice he had for potential teachers hoping to embark on similarly long careers. “If you want to get ready for teaching, certainly in business school […] you have to be a pretty hard worker. You have to be willing to be ready to work spend time […] you don’t have to be the brightest person in the world, but you have to be willing to put in time and effort.”

Concerning advice he himself had for future teachers, Snyder explained that he understands that some job prospects are limited, that some fields are more “open” than others.

“[…] The single constant I have observed over four decades is that no matter your major, if you are really good, somebody will want to hire you. If you followed your heart, pursued the study that you wanted and are a good fit for it, and have a good transcript, you win. Be patient,” he said.

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