In Memoriam: Philip Snider

Philip Snider, retired associate professor of biology, passed away on June 16 after a brief illness. He was a vital faculty member of the University of Houston’s Department of Biology and Biochemistry for decades and introduced many cohorts of students to human genetics.

Snider taught at the university level for 57 years: four years at University of California, Berkeley, and 53 years at UH.

Philip Snider

Joining UH in 1963, Snider was the first tenure-track geneticist hired by the University. In 1965, he was appointed to associate professor and became director of UH’s Honors Program, a position he held for seven years.

As director, he expanded the Honors Program from about 35 students to more than 100. Along the way, he convinced department chairs and faculty members of the need for adding honors sections for selected courses. The Honors Program later became the Honors College.

Snider created the department’s Human Genetics course (BIOL 3341) in 1972. He taught the course until his retirement in May 2016, constantly updating the curriculum to keep up with the rapid pace of discoveries.

He structured the course to provide an overview of some of the common, but severe, genetic disorders with lectures focusing on a disorder’s genetic causes, symptoms and treatment options. The curriculum covered conditions such as hemophilia, diabetes mellitus, Huntington disease and cystic fibrosis.

During this career, Snider was recognized with three teaching excellence awards: one from UH, one from the Allied Health Professions Society and another from the Golden Key International Honour Society.

A memorial service will be held early in the fall semester.