Legacy of Action:
Dr. Virgil W. Snyder, P.E.
Emeritus of Engineering Mechanics
Virgil Snyder has had a career in engineering education spanning 34 years earning him a reputation as an outstanding educator in both the traditional foundation and the related specialty areas within the engineering mechanics field. He is widely known for his involvement in the Mechanics Readiness Test which was used nationwide and for his role in starting the International Journal of Analytical and Experimental Nodal Analysis of which he was the editor.
He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in four different departments, namely, Mechanical, Civil, and Mining Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. He conducted research throughout his teaching career which resulted in an impressive list of papers notably in computational techniques now used widely in the field of modal analysis.
Snyder graduated in 1956 with a B.S. degree in structural engineering and a minor in geology from Michigan Tech. After graduation he joined Northrup Aviation as a stress analyst. From 1958 he worked as a structural engineer at North American Aviation until he started teaching as an instructor at Michigan Tech in 1960. He received his M.S. degree in structural engineering from Michigan Tech in 1962. He became an assistant professor of Mechanics in 1965. In 1968 Snyder received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona where he majored in aerospace engineering with a minor in mechanics. He returned to Michigan Tech to become an associate professor in 1970 and a professor in 1978.
In addition to his teaching career at Michigan Tech, he taught at the University of Arizona, Curtin University and Monash University in Australia. In 1984 he was a Research Fellow in Civil Engineering at Melbourne University in Australia. He retired from Michigan Tech in 1995.
Snyder served on the Faculty Senate at Michigan Tech, he has been active in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) from the early 1970s. He served as Section Chairman and was involved in many divisional and national level positions, including the board of directors. He was chairman of the ASEE professional Interest Council 3 through 1989-91 and was on the Nomination Committee from 1991-93.
Dr. Virgil Snyder, shown in photos below, was honored for his outstanding contributions to the field of modal analysis at the IMAC - XXIV Conference in St. Louis MO on February 1, 2006.