Alexander Schure (1920-2009)

NYIT founder Alexander Schure died on Oct. 28, 2009, at the age of 89. An educational technology visionary, he served as the university’s first president from 1955 to 1982. Among his achievements were the establishment of NYIT’s campuses in Manhattan at Columbus Circle and in Old Westbury along Long Island’s Gold Coast. In 1974, he created NYIT’s Computer Graphics Laboratory, which produced some of the first breakthroughs in the field of computer graphics. Schure also helped launch NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1977, the first osteopathic medical school in New York. NYIT Magazine shares some memories from those whose lives he impacted the most—family, friends, and graduates of NYIT.

“Dad was a visionary educator with a forceful personality. Because he refused to take no for an answer, and because he believed passionately in the capacity of all students to learn, he pioneered the introduction of instructional technology in college classrooms. He also pioneered external doctoral education, which is now commonplace, as well as the computer graphics industry. There are thousands of individuals who owe their higher education to Alexander Schure.”
-Matthew Schure, NYIT President (1982-2000)

“Alex was a true pioneer and visionary educator, and his legacy continues to grow daily at NYIT. Fifty years ago, he showed the creation of human capital as the 21st-century answer to a strong and prosperous nation and people, and set about establishing a university that prepared students for careers of the future. This university and all of us have lost a great champion.”
-Edward Guiliano, NYIT President

“Dr. Alexander Schure, or ‘Uncle Alex’ as we called him, was one of the most colorful people in my career and played a fundamental role in the development of computer animation by providing us—the group that became Pixar—our first home. In the list of patrons who finally made Pixar possible, he was the first (the other two being George Lucas, then Steve Jobs, with a tip of the hat to Roy Disney as well), and therefore took the biggest gamble, based on nothing more than his intuition. Thus began the Computer Graphics Lab at NYIT.”
-Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of Pixar

“I met Alexander Schure in 1964. He became my best friend and professional mentor. He taught me that the future begins by envisioning it. It is better to dream big and accomplish only a few of your hopes than never to have dreamed at all. He taught me to abandon tradition if it did not serve me well and to explore new ways to teach and learn. As I stood on his shoulders, I saw the world with a sharper eye and richer spirit. He is indeed immortal because his influence will never cease.”
-Professor King V. Cheek

“More than anything, Dr. Schure believed that everyone had the ability to learn. If students were not experiencing success, he would conclude that the structure of their instruction was not adequate. As a result of these core beliefs, Dr. Schure introduced alternate modes of instruction, including teaching machines that presented curricular content to students one small unit at a time and which progressed when students showed mastery of the content. He was also a pioneering advocate for integrating computers in the classroom.”
-Professor Maryse Prezeau

“As one of the first NYIT students, I had the stimulating experience of having Alex Schure as an instructor for some of my classes. He was a truly inspiring person.”
-Joe Hillen (A.A.S. ’58)

“He showed a kid from Brooklyn that there was another world out there and that the only limits we had were the ones we set for ourselves.”
Fred Budin (B.S. ’64)

“As a graduate of NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design, I owe my enjoyment of this wonderful profession to Dr. Schure.”
Leigh Overland (B.Arch. ’76)

“Alex was convinced that computers would play a major role in education. And this was in 1958! Everyone did not have the foresight or understanding of computers. In those days, the hardware filled two classrooms. Not many people would have envisioned that students would one day be walking around with laptops. He was a genius.”
-Donald Ross (A.A.S. ’60, B.F.A. ’62)

Click here more on Alexander Schure’s legacy.

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