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Professor Rixford K. Snyder

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Photo Professor Rixford K. Snyder Died peacefully in his sleep at his Webster House home in Palo Alto on January 8. He was 100 years old. Rix was the son of Charles and Alice Lester Snyder who were descended from some of the earliest settlers of the Santa Clara Valley. Rix was born and raised in the Willow Glen area of San Jose and attended San Jose schools. He became the first in his family to attend college when he enrolled at Stanford University. Rix received his AB in 1930, his AM in 1934 and his PhD in 1940. He taught in the History Department at Stanford from 1937 to 1950 and became an associate professor specializing in the history of the British Empire. Rix's teaching career was interrupted during World War II when he enlisted in the Navy and became an academic instructor in Naval pre-flight schools at the University of Iowa and St. Mary's college. He finished his duty in the Navy as a lieutenant commander on Admiral Nimitz's personal staff in the Pacific Ocean area. After the war Rix returned to Stanford and continued his teaching career until President Wallace Sterling asked him to become dean of admissions in 1950. Rix was dean of admissions until 1970 and admitted approximately 33,000 freshmen to Stanford. During this time he was also a co-founder of the African Scholarship Program of 200 American Universities, the National Chairman of the College Entrance Examination Board, Chairman of the Accreditation Board of California Private Schools and a member of the Board of Trustees of Menlo School and College. He was also the Stanford Athletic Representative to the Pacific 10 Conference for 20 years and was president of the conference in 1966 as well as the Pac-10's representative to the NCAA for three years. In 1970 Rix retired from admissions to become the Stanford Alumni Assn's first director of travel study. He led 48 tours for alumni including 17 trips on the Danube River. This program was a pioneer among American universities, and in 1986 he was made an honorary citizen of Vienna for outstanding contribution to furthering US-Austrian relations. Rix was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Rotary, Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Historical Museum, Board of Trustees of the San Jose Trolley Museum, and Board of Trustees of the CA State Railroad Museum in Sacramento. He was a recipient of Palo Alto's Outstanding Achievement Award, and he was a charter member of Stanford University's Founding Grant Society for contributions to the university. Rix was predeceased by his beloved wife, Elliott, to whom he was married for 64 years. He is survived by his nieces, Karine Lyon of Carmichael and Phyllis Ebersole of San Jose, and their families. A Memorial Service will be held February 4 in the Stanford Memorial Church, with a reception following at the Stanford Faculty Club. Parking has been reserved in the Galvez Field at the corner of Galvez and Campus Drive. Enter from Campus Drive. Shuttles will be provided to the church. A campus map is available at www.stanford.edu. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rixford K. Snyder Scholarship Fund, Attn: Eileen Gall, 641 E. Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305; Avenidas Senior Center, 450 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301 or the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 340, Palo Alto, CA 94301.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 1, 2009
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