College mourns Prof. Phillip Snow

Publication Date

Colleagues and other friends are mourning the passing of Phillip D. Snow, the gregarious professor of civil engineering emeritus who devoted much of his teaching and research to protecting and restoring water resources. He died Aug. 18, 2016 at his home in Ocala, Fla. He was 73.

He joined the College in 1974 and rose to full professor by the time he retired in 2003. He served as department chair and director of Environmental Studies.

Snow, easy to spot in his trademark yellow tape measure suspenders, was often found leading students in research at area lakes and streams. Collins Lake in Scotia, where Snow directed a dredging effort with Profs. Carl George and Peter Tobiessen, was a frequent destination for field trips. Snow led restoration projects at a number of other local lakes including Saratoga Lake, Ann Lee Pond and Central Park Pond in Schenectady.

For seven years, he co-taught a mini-term course, “Water Resources in Sao Paulo, Brazil,” with Martha Huggins of Sociology and, later, William Garcia of Modern Languages. Students visited favelas, wastewater treatment plants, steel mills and beaches to investigate the challenges of protecting water sources in highly populated areas.

He worked closely with the late Prof. Gil Harlow to assemble an environmental studies lab composed largely of items they acquired from the Army surplus warehouse in Rotterdam. He also worked with Prof. Frank Griggs to reconstruct the Squire Whipple Bridge near the northeast corner of campus. They also rebuilt a half dozen other bridges in the area.

Besides his teaching, he served as a consultant for a number of area engineering firms.

He received grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Science Foundation toward the study of lake restoration projects. He presented and published in a variety of venues including those sponsored by the EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the North American Lake Management Society and the American Water Resources Association.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at Marietta College and Syracuse University, respectively. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Survivors include his wife, Diane; and two children, Hillary and Michael.

A memorial service will be announced.