When I was at BSC recently, I saw the notation going into the Norton Center--"This is a smoke free facility"--or words to that effect. I could not help but think of Dr. Guy Snavely and that he must have a smile on his face, because he was strongly against smoking and drinking. I can remember one professor telling the tale about professors putting out cigarettes in their hands if they saw Dr. Snavely coming their way.
Harriet Yeilding, Class of 1953.
Legendary campus characters are usually professors whose particular eccentricities have worked their way into the group consciousness as humorous anecdotes or cautionary tales. These tales can commemorate a beloved professor, but they often serve to underscore the adversarial aspect of the student-teacher relationship. This example of Dr. Snavely shares characteristics of both teacher-student and boss-worker legends. The fear inspired by the college president seems an extension of the power professors have over students. “Since grade giving may seem like a ‘life or death' situation, it is not surprising that some legends tell of professors who kill or try to kill their students and others on campus” (Tucker 46). The tale above suggests that, as the boss, Dr. Snavely drove faculty members to acts of self-mutilation, so one can only imagine what the penalty would have been if they had been caught in the act of smoking.
Are there other stories of Dr. Snavely that perpetuate this legendary quality?
Have other BSC presidents or professors inspired such fear?
What other qualities make campus characters legendary?
Email your comments, corrections, or additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tucker, Elizabeth. Campus Legends: A Handbook London: Greenwood Press, 2005