F&M Students Remember Beloved Professor David Schuyler

By Anna Goorevich ’21 & and Elisabeth Rohde ’21

Goorevich and Rohde are two of Professor Schuyler’s many mentees during his tenure at F&M. Both worked with him as research assistants in the American Studies Department.

At the start of college, we’re told to make the most of our F&M experience: join clubs, meet new people, and most importantly, take advantage of office hours. This last point can look a bit different for each student. Whether you’re passionate about your professor’s research or you need help understanding the course, office hours can be a great way to get to know your professor. For us, office hours were where we first had the opportunity to meet Professor Schuyler. Not only did this corner on Stager’s third floor become the place to understand complicated material or get feedback on a paper, but it also became the center of one of the most enriching and fulfilling relationships that either of us have ever had. If you told us as freshmen that one professor would alter what we study, how we view the world, and how we view ourselves, we would have been really skeptical. But in retrospect, Professor Schuyler did all of those things and so much more for us during our time at F&M.

Many who knew Professor Schuyler throughout his 40 years at F&M could attest to the fact that he was first and foremost an advocate. He was committed to serving his students and other staff members by graciously sharing his research opportunities, which he did with us, opening his doors to any and all. Most importantly, he showed he believed in the students with whom he worked closely. For us, we know that Professor Schuyler sometimes had more confidence in us than we did in ourselves. 

That advocacy stretched far beyond the classroom setting, though. During our summer researching urban redevelopment in Lancaster City, Professor Schuyler constantly fostered our own passions and dreams. No matter what our interests were, Professor Schuyler dove deep into learning as much as he could about them to help support us. For instance, Professor Schuyler tolerated an infatuation with the Women’s World Cup in 2019. Not only did he encourage the obsession, but he would even go home and watch the games himself so he could talk to us about them the next day. 

Professor David Schuyler. Courtesy of Lancasteronline.com

Professor Schuyler always made the effort to turn our dreams into reality. He took us to dinners and meetings with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, one of the many organizations he contributed to. He introduced us to former students, colleagues, and scholars who worked in our desired career fields to help us form connections. He searched for graduate programs for us, sending impromptu emails in the middle of the night expressing excitement about potential opportunities. He even picked through his personal library, loaning us books with disclaimers like, “My best friend wrote this.” or “Here’s a nice message the author wrote for me.” During his time at F&M, he did everything in his power to teach his students to dream big and to work hard for what we wanted, assuring that he would stand by our side in any way that he could. 

Most people would have seen Professor Schuyler, though, in the classroom. Whether in his Rivers and Regions course for first-years, Introduction to American Studies, American Landscape, Urban Experience, or his seminar on the Hudson River Valley, Professor Schuyler touched so many with his passionate lectures (many of which he never required notes for) that portrayed the many ways in which Americans have connected with, changed, and built their space over time. Professor Schuyler was definitely old school, being reluctant to use powerpoints and skilled at cold-calling students unexpectedly, but he came to class with boundless energy and a wide smile, ready to share stories, recite novel excerpts from memory, or even belt some of his favorite Pete Seeger songs. 

Professor Schuyler was a human encyclopedia, having extensive knowledge in a wide range of topics such as American history, art, literature, architecture, urban history and planning, and environmentalism. You could be assured that if he didn’t know something, he would most definitely hit the books and read as much as he could about the topic. His persistent curiosity still inspires us and so many others today. He approached his research the same way, constantly questioning the world around him and trying to understand why things were the way they were. From Hudson Valley environmentalism to the redevelopment of Lancaster City, he found significance in the stories of Americans and their communities that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Probably best illustrated by the ever-growing stacks of books in his office, for Professor Schuyler, teaching and researching was a lifelong practice of establishing personal connections and recognizing the impacts that all kinds of Americans have had on society. 

Entering our senior year, we will remember all of his lessons and the immense amount of confidence he instilled in us. We will remember his smiling, positive greeting each and every time we entered his office, his curiosity, and his relentless work ethic to bring light to so many overlooked stories of American culture. We can only hope to accomplish a fraction of what Professor Schuyler did in his lifetime. Rest in peace, you will be deeply missed.

With admiration,

Anna Goorevich and Elisabeth Rohde

Seniors Anna Goorevich and Elisabeth Rohde are contributing writers. Their emails are agoorevi@fandm.edu and erohde@fandm.edu

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