Robert Schnabel ’44, former president of Valparaiso University, died September 1, 2009, in Linton, Ind., after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and kidney failure.
He was born in Scarsdale, N.Y., on September 28, 1922, and graduated from Scarsdale High School. He studied at Concordia Collegiate Institute for two years before transferring to Bowdoin, where he majored in music and graduated cum laude in 1943, a year early because of the accelerated wartime class schedule. After Bowdoin, where he was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, he studied for two years at Concordia Theological Seminary but discovered that teaching was his passion. He spent a year at Indiana University, then studied at Fordham Uni- versity for two summers while working as an instructor at St. Paul School in Fort Wayne, Ind. He earned a master’s of sci- ence in education from Fordham in 1951 and a doctorate there in 1955. He taught philosophy at Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne for 14 years, and was later promoted to academic dean. In 1971, he was appointed president of Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y. Before join- ing Valparaiso, Schnabel served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. His tenure at Valparaiso from 1978 to 1988 was marked by stabil- ity and growth, during which he built the University’s endowment and com- puterized the campus. Six buildings were dedicated on campus during that period, including a computer and communica- tions center that bears his name. He was active in numerous church, civic, and professional organizations, including the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Board of Higher Education Curriculum Com- mission, the Northwest Indiana Forum, and the National Association of Indepen- dent Colleges and Universities, and was president of the Associated Colleges of Indiana. He is survived by two sons, Mark and Philip Schnabel. He was predeceased by Ellen Foelber Schnabel, his wife of 62 years, in September 2008.