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Longtime communication professor recovering from car accident

June 17, 2014 : Liberty University News Service

Al Snyder works in the broadcast booth of the campus radio station in September 1981.

The Liberty University family is being asked to pray for one of its pioneers and longtime professors who is recovering from a car accident that happened last month.

Al Snyder, 83, from Greenville, S.C., was one of Liberty’s first faculty members. He was at Liberty from 1976-1994. He taught broadcasting courses and is most well-known for starting WRVL (now Victory FM), Liberty’s radio network. On May 28, Snyder suffered severe injuries in an automobile accident in Greenville, including neck fractures and a brain bleed. He also had a heart attack while in the hospital. He has since been moved to a rehabilitation facility.

At Liberty, Snyder also developed curriculum for what was then the TVRF (Television Radio and Film Department). He started the public relations program and the student newspaper (for which he was an advisor), and was involved in broadcasting Liberty athletics events. He was also an advisor for the yearbook.

His wife, Evelyn, taught courses in education and missions.

Evelyn and Al Snyder in 1984

The Snyders’ two sons are Liberty alumni, Steve (’82) and Dan (’83). Steve joined Liberty’s Board of Trustees last fall.

Before coming to Liberty, Al and Evelyn Snyder served 18 years in interdenominational missionary radio broadcasting with SIM in Liberia.

Dr. Ron Hawkins, vice president for Academic Affairs and vice provost, has remained a close friend of the Snyders.

“Al brought his passion for Jesus, radio, and communications to LU and was actively involved in the beginnings of the LU radio station,” Hawkins said. “He was a warm and caring presence on the young university campus. He loved the students. He was actively involved and a well-respected member of the faculty. He continued his interest in missions and connecting students to mission opportunities.”

Jerry Edwards, who retired as general manager of Victory FM after 33 years in January, said Snyder was “the driving force” behind Liberty’s radio network.

“He went through the complex application process for the FCC and got all the engineering and the staff together,” Edwards said. “I really believe if it hadn’t been for Al Snyder and his willingness to stay with that project, I’m not sure WRVL would have ever been here.”

Steve Snyder said his parents were proud to be a part of Liberty’s beginnings.

Al Snyder with Liberty's founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, in the 1980s

“My parents loved their years at Liberty and will always have a deep affection for Liberty,” he said. “To them, it was never a job; it was always about the students and the ministry. They were servants, and they served their students.”

He said that during the recovery, his father has been encouraged by his local church, Forestville Baptist Church, where, coincidentally, two of his former students — Robert Jackson and Paul Fleming — are pastors. But most uplifting, he said, have been the prayers.

“He told me the most encouraging thing to him is when he hears people here and there are praying for him — from Liberty to people overseas, all over the world, praying for him.”