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Herbert J. Schneider, Esq. '59: Hard Work Pays Off

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Herb Schneider thinks of his time at Saint Peter's University as a period of intellectual growth.

Thomas A. Edison once wrote, "There is no substitute for hard work." For Herbert J. Schneider, Esq. '59, hard work has always been a part of his life.

Born and raised in Newark, N.J., to German (paternal) and Polish (maternal) parents, Herbert graduated from Saint Mary's Abbey Parochial School in 1949 and Saint Benedict's Prep in 1953. During his high school years, Herbert worked as a copy boy for the Newark Evening News three out of the four years he attended Saint Benedict's. This work ethic continued upon graduation. Herbert had to "first work in order to earn enough for my first year's tuition." But his resolve paid off. Two years after graduating from high school, he was able to matriculate to Saint Peter's.

"In some respects, starting my college life two years after prep school made me appreciate going to college even more, especially when I had to work to pay for my tuition," he says. "As a consequence, I never considered any of my courses dull or uninteresting."

The retired lawyer, husband and father of four recalls his time at Saint Peter's as a period of intellectual growth. While majoring in economics, Herbert also took an interest in mathematics, biology and philosophy. "The access to the humanities, philosophy and theology all helped in defining my character and how I would live my life, both on a personal basis and as a member of the law profession," Herbert says.

Herbert attributes his passion for these courses to the professors who instructed him, citing the late Professor John F. Dunn of Modern Languages and Professor Emeritus of History Thaddeus Tuleja as some of his favorites. "Saint Peter's was able, through its faculty, to provide its students, and me in particular, with a lot of individual attention. That is not always possible at larger institutions."

The Jesuits also made a favorable impression on Herbert. He calls the late Fathers Paul Curtin, John Gormley, Aidan McMullen, Wallace Pangborn, Matthew Rooney and Joseph Schuh "delights," whose teachings prepared him well for both the physical and spiritual world outside of Saint Peter's.

In his senior year, Herbert was one of 10 students inducted into the Most Noble Order of the Peacock, the oldest scholarship society at Saint Peter's, for attaining the highest scholastic average in all courses throughout his first three years at the institution. He was also the recipient of The Wall Street Journal Award for student achievement in economics.

After graduating from Saint Peter's with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1959, Herbert attended the University of Miami Graduate School of Business and obtained his master's in 1961. He went on to attend Boston College Law School and received his juris doctorate in 1964.

Herbert spent his working career as an attorney, mainly in the pharmaceutical industry and principally in international transactions. He retired in 1995 and now spends his time with his wife, Diane, sailing on Penobscot Bay in Maine during the summer months or catching a game of golf in Florida during the winter months.

In 2000, Herbert decided it was "time for me to pay back some of what was provided to me" and established an endowed scholarship. Also, he has provided for Saint Peter's in his estate plan through a revocable trust.

"The Bible tells us that when we pray, we should do it silently because the Father hears us, even though no one else does," he says. "That is enough of a legacy for me: to know that I have helped or will help someone in need, much as Pope Francis is encouraging us to do."

While Saint Peter's continues to undergo many positive changes, Herbert hopes one thing about the Jesuit institution will remain the same. "Being the only Jesuit college or university in New Jersey, I feel it is important that the school maintain its Catholic identity and continue to offer theology courses for those students who wish to participate in such undertakings," he says. "In order to help in maintaining justice in our society, not only are theological subjects of importance, but also ethics and philosophy programs as well."

Herbert adds, "The liberal arts also contribute to that goal as they help us learn about and understand our fellow citizens."

Herbert encourages other alumni to make their own mark at Saint Peter's. "Don't hesitate in providing someone with the opportunity that we as alumni had," he states. "It doesn't have to be a large gift to help in working miracles, as even small gifts help to support the school and its students."

Herbert J. Schneider is married to Diane. He is the father of Claire, Erich, Kurt and the late Karin. He resides in a summer residence in Kingston, Mass., but spends the better part of the summer on a sailboat in Maine. During the winter, he and his wife call Florida home.

If you are interested in providing opportunities to future students at Saint Peter's, please contact Sharon T. Morrissey, MBA, M.Ed.'13 at (201) 761-6126 (office) and (201) 618-4230 (cell) or smorrissey@saintpeters.edu.

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