Laurence H. Snyder

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Lawrence Hasbrouck Snyder (July 23, 1901 – October 8, 1986) was a pioneer in human genetics and president of the University of Hawaii.

Snyder was born in Kingston, New York, the second of five children. His parents were Christian missionaries who had lived in the Belgian Congo. Graduating from Rutgers University in 1922 with a B.S. degree, he received a doctor of science degree from Harvard University in 1926.

Snyder taught at four academic institutions, all state universities: North Carolina State College (1924-1930) as professor of biology, Ohio State University (1930-1947) as professor of genetics and later chairman of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, the University of Oklahoma (1947-1958) as Dean of the graduate college and professor of medicine, and the University of Hawaii (1958-1963) as President and later professor and professor emeritus.

Snyder's research, between 1926 and 1949, was reported in a series of 35 papers with the overall title, "Studies in Human Inheritance". These range over subjects that include blood groups, polydactylism, hemophilia, baldness, sex ratios, Rh incompatibility, and other topics. Perhaps his most remembered work is his study of phenylthiocarbamide, a chemical that tastes bitter to some individuals but is without taste to others, depending on the inheritance of a single gene.

At the University of Hawaii, Snyder presided over a great expansion in both buildings (37 new buildings built) and enrollment (doubling). He was particularly proud of the beautiful mall, shaded by monkeypod trees, stretching from Varney Circle to East West Center Road.

In 1961, Snyder attempted to terminate the university's intercollegiate football program, believing it to be incompatible with the university's academic mission. However, after alumni protests, the decision was reversed.

Snyder received three honorary degrees. He served terms as president of the Genetics Society of America, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Society of Human Genetics.

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