Temple mentor and honored anatomy professor Carson D. Schneck dies at 88

Carson D. Schneck, 88, of Quakertown, an anatomy professor at Temple University for more than five decades, a medical pioneer and mentor to countless physicians, and for whom a campus lab has been named, died Sunday November 7 from complications of dementia at home.

Described as a “legend” by Amy J. Goldberg, Acting Dean of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple, Dr Schneck graduated from Temple School of Medicine in 1959 and taught comprehensive anatomy, histology, embryology, neuroanatomy and other courses to more than 10,000 students over 52 years.

“We have always said that when God created man, he first consulted Carson Schneck,” said a former student in a 2008 article in Temple Medicine.

Dr. Schneck has won numerous awards including the 1988 Alpha Omega Alpha Distinguished Teacher’s Award, Temple’s Great Teacher Award, and over a dozen American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in the Classroom.

His favorite accolades came from closer to home. “Receiving an award from a national organization is not the same as receiving an award from the students I love,” he said in a story for the 2013 Temple School of Medicine yearbook.

His students honored him. Four classes have dedicated their medical school yearbooks to Dr. Schneck, and an online tribute page is filled with poignant memories of his interactions with students and faculty.

“He made learning interesting and fun,” wrote one alumnus. “Watching him teach us was an art,” said another. They remembered his ever-present smile, his boundless enthusiasm and his passion for teaching. His followers called him an “anatomy guru” and themselves “Schneckees”.

Engaging, Dr Schneck would spend a weekend every August memorizing student cards, and he shocked many of them by knowing their names on the first day of class. Lively, he enjoyed climbing tables during class so that everyone could see him demonstrate anatomical walking disorders.

He made a point of finding and helping underprivileged students. “I think it’s important in teaching to get to know students as people,” he told Temple Now in 2008.

He was an expert in dissecting cadavers, regularly working 100-hour weeks, and looking to help others more than earn money, gave all of his grades to students when he retired in 2012.

A pioneer, he described a potential new cause of thoracic outlet syndrome, helped define the correct placement of screws and lumbar plates, and developed protocols for the use of magnetic resonance imaging on the arms and legs. .

He has been a consultant to other experts, wrote numerous scientific papers, and advised the Temple administration on curriculum, faculty affairs, alumni relations, and other matters. In 2009, the laboratory of the new medical education and research building opened as the Carson D. Schneck Gross Anatomy Laboratory, and a scholarship was established in its name.

Born October 10, 1933 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Dr. Schneck graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1955 and finished second in his class at Temple School of Medicine four years later. He interned at Frankford Hospital and joined Temple faculty as an anatomy instructor in 1961.

He received a doctorate in anatomy and cell biology from Temple in 1965, and became a full professor in 1974 and professor of diagnostic imaging in 1986. He met Freda Helmer in high school, and they married in 1956, lived in Hatboro and Quakertown, and had daughters Deborah and Stephanie.

Outside of the Temple Clock, Dr Schneck taught at the Adult Sunday School, sang tenor in the church choir, and volunteered with the Milford Township Planning Commission for 43 years. He enjoyed running, traveling, devouring chocolate and gardening on his 20-acre property. He underwent heart bypass surgery in 1992.

“He had a generosity of spirit and a passionate desire to understand and to reflect,” said his daughter Deborah Lambert.

He also had a sense of humor. A former student recalled that Dr Schneck had corrected it this way: “No, it’s the prostate, not the prostate. Prostrate will be what you do after my examination.

In addition to his wife and daughters, Dr Schneck is survived by three grandchildren and other relatives.

Services were on November 12.

Donations on his behalf can be made to Carson Schneck, MD, Ph.D. Endowed Scholarship Fund, Temple University Institutional Advancement, PO Box 827651, Philadelphia, PA 19182-7651. Please write “Schneck, MD, PhD Endowed Scholarship Fund (S4321)” on the memo line.


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