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Alumni News

Professor Klaus Schnitzer’s Lasting Impact

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

Thousands of students will be taught throughout the career of a professor. The impact that successful educators make can resonate outside of the classroom and for many years after the gradebooks close. Professor Klaus Schnitzer, longtime professor of photography at Montclair State, is one of those educators.

“What I gained are the possibilities of what I could be as an artist, an educator and a person. I am a better teacher and person because of it. And for that, I will always be thankful that I had the opportunity to be a student of his,” reflects Rex Thomas ’12 MA about the impact of Professor Schnitzer.

After nearly 50 years at Montclair State University, Professor Schnitzer announced that he will be retiring this year. In recognition and celebration of his achievements, the University organized the exhibition, Fifty Years of Inspiration and Impact: The Photographic Legacy of Klaus Schnitzer and His Students, at the George Segal Gallery. At the opening reception on February 7, hundreds of alumni, current students, faculty and staff came together to celebrate with him.

The exhibit, curated by Professor Robert Yoskowitz, features the photographs of Professor Schnitzer alongside the work of over 50 of his former students, who are now engaged in their own professional activities in fine arts, commercial arts, art education and other art-related endeavors. Montclair State Art and Design Professor John Luttropp designed the stunning catalog.

Spectators at Klaus Exhibit

As an educator, Professor Schnitzer served as mentor to many over these past 50 years. In that time, countless of his students have gone on to take what they have learned to create successful careers. His impact on his students’ lives and their art is fondly recalled by former students to this day.

For Chad Mooney ’14, Professor Schnitzer served as a helpful guide and mentor when he made his transition from majoring in the natural sciences to fine art. “His willingness to offer realistic advice and criticism during my studies helped shape me into the photographer I am today,” he says. “I continue to learn new skills and push myself into understanding wherein my true niche lies.”

Professor Schnitzer has been rewarded with long-lasting friendships with many of his former students who have stayed in touch and often come back to visit.

“Little did I know when I entered the Montclair State photo lab in 1973 and met my new photography professor for the first time that it would be the start of one of my closest enduring friendships,” shares Erik Landsberg ’74. “We have known and supported each other through marriages, kids, houses, jobs, happiness and sadness for more than 45 years.”

Spectators at Klaus Exhibit

We invite you to visit Professor Schnitzer’s retirement exhibit at the George Segal Gallery. Fifty Years of Inspiration and Impact: The Photographic Legacy of Klaus Schnitzer and His Students will run through Saturday, April 4, 2020.

Join us in recognizing Professor Schnitzer by helping establish a named scholarship in fine arts/photography to carry on his name and support future students. Visit the Crowdfunding page created in his honor and help us reach our goal of $25,000.