Chester (Chet) Schnepf (M.A. ’74)
Professor Chester Schnepf Q & A:
What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I had two classes which I remember fondly because of the professors who taught them. Dr. Frank S. Lambasa taught a very enlightening course on Franz Kafka in his office to a small group of us. It was great! I also remember a very gentle soul who taught me the poetry of W.B. Yeats. His name was Dr. William Hull. He once wrote me a letter and said, after reading my poems that “I was a poet born.” I never forgot his kindness for writing such a warm and encouraging statement. My fondest memory of Hofstra was sitting in Hofstra’s “little theatre” audience while poet Allen Ginsberg performed his poetry.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I was an adjunct professor for many years at various colleges in Connecticut while also teaching at private and public schools as an English teacher/lecturer. In my free time, which was not a lot, I would write and paint. In retrospect, Hofstra taught me to always face the academic challenges head on. Whenever I did poorly on a paper or test I would double my efforts. I would always discuss the matter with my professor and commit to doing better. Hofstra taught me determination even if at the time I thought it was a losing battle.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
Teaching has always been a “calling” for me. I cannot think of any other field I would be happy or even fit to do. I just think teaching is special, and you have to devote your life to it to truly be a fine teacher. You keep learning along with your students year after year. What could be more rewarding? I guess my field of specialty is being a life- long student of the arts and being with my students.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Dedicate yourself to your academics. Hofstra is a gift given to you; be alert and be involved!
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
Who in your field do you most admire?
This could be a rather long list. However my favorites are E. A. Poe, Jonathan Carroll, E.L. Doctorow, J.S. LeFanu, David Mamet, Tennessee Williams and Albert Camus.
How do you balance work and life?
I have been fortunate to do what I love. Being a college professor is my life.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
Certainly having the privilege of being a professor who has spent much of his adult life more than 30 years now teaching my students to make the best of their life journey and always give back more than you take from others.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing to in the future?
At age 63, this is a question – perhaps the only question – I don’t have an answer to. I hope still in the classroom, still writing and still painting. I hope.