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Charles Richard "Rick" Snyder (1944-2006) was the Wright Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kansas. Snyder is internationally famous for research in clinical, social, personality, health, and positive psychology. He received a Ph.D at Southern Methodist University, he continued in doctoral training in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt University, followed with postdoctoral training at the Langley Porter Institute[1].

He spent his career as a psychology professor at the University of Kansas, where he produced many important contributions to the field of positive psychology. Some of his best-known publications include Positive Psychology (the first textbook in this area), The Handbook of Positive Psychology, Positive Psychological Assessment, Uniqueness: The Human Pursuit of Difference, and The Psychology of Hope. In addition to his work on hope and forgiveness, Snyder also developed theories about how people react to personal feedback, the human need for uniqueness, and the drive to excuse and forgive transgressions (Snyder & Lopez, 2007).

Snyder was editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology for 12 years.

His analysis of the motivational forces that disconnect individuals from the negatives of the past – excuse-making and forgiveness – and connect them to the possibilities of the future – hope – help people around the world to live more positive lives. Furthermore, Snyder demystified hope for researchers, clinicians, and laypersons, and the robust hope literature remains as a touchstone for future research on human strengths (Lopez, 2006). As one of the leading positive psychologists, Snyder charted a sustainable future course for studying and applying positive psychology principles.

Though Snyder's contributions were numerous and influential, he probably is most closely associated with his work on hope. His theory of hope emphasizes goal-directed thinking is which the person utilizes both pathways thinking (the perceived capacity to find routes to desired goals) and agency thinking (the requisite motivations to use those routes)(Snyder & Lopez, 2007). In 2000, he had the opportunity to demonstrate his hope theory in action on Good Morning America by conducting a live experiment with the show's correspondents. The experiment was a success, and Snyder was able to demonstrate his theory of hope to millions of viewers.

In his career, Snyder won 27 teaching and mentoring awards, including twice being selected for KU's prestigious Honor for an Outstanding Progressive Educator (known as the HOPE award) by the undergraduate seniors[1]. In 1995, the American Psychological Association's Division of Teaching awarded him Fellow status[2]. Snyder also mentored 41 doctoral students as their dissertation chair, and a group of them nominated him for APA's Raymond Fowler Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, which he received in 2000 (Lopez, 2006). In 2005, Snyder accepted an honorary doctorate from Indiana Wesleyan University[3]. His research on uniqueness received rare recognition as the subject of a Sunday Doonesbury cartoon sequence, a signed copy of which hangs in his study at home. And yet, in Snyder's own words, "these accomplishments are packaged in a graying and self-effacing absent-minded professor who says of himself, 'If you don't laugh at yourself, you have missed the biggest joke of all!'"(Lopez, 2006).


[4](2006)KU News - Chancellor, Colleagues issue statements on the death of KU Professor Rick Snyder
•Lopez, S. J. (2006). C. R. (Rick) Snyder (1944-2006). American Psychologist, 61(7), 719.
•Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (2007). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc.



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