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In Memory of Carson D. Schneck, MD ’59, PhD '65

News November 09, 2021

Schneck We lost a Temple legend on Sunday: Carson Schneck, MD ’59, PhD ’65.

“While we often think of ourselves as self-made,” he once said, “we are really amalgams of the imprints made upon us by other people.”

Thousands of Temple family members embody this truth. What a profound impact he had, teaching Gross Anatomy (and 20 other courses) to Temple medical students, dental students, grad students, residents, and fellows for more than 50 years.

Born in Allentown, PA, on October 10, 1933, Carson Schneck attended Muhlenberg College (1955, BS), and graduated from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine in 1959 (2nd in his class). He interned at Frankford Hospital (Philadelphia), then in 1961 joined the Temple faculty as Instructor of Anatomy while serving an NIH fellowship at Temple (1962-64). In 1965 he earned a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology at Temple. Later that year, he was promoted to Assistant Professor, then to Associate Professor in 1968, and to full Professor in 1974. He earned a dual appointment in 1986: Professor of Diagnostic Imaging.

Dr. Schneck was the recipient of the first national Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. He was also awarded the first national Alpha Omega Alpha Distinguished Teacher Award in Basic Science. Four MD classes at Temple dedicated their yearbooks to him – more than any other faculty member. He also received more Golden Apple awards than any other faculty member.

Dr. Schneck Teaching

So many things made his teaching penetrating. For one, he called students by name on the very first day of class (having memorized thousands of new student photo IDs over the years.). Clinical application was another stand-out of Dr. Schneck’s teaching. He’d jump up on a table and demonstrate a gait disorder to put anatomy in context. He made students understand that it’s the clinical correlation of anatomy that counts. To that end, Dr. Scheck also used diagnostic imaging to amplify what he taught during dissection.

A recognized authority on the anatomic correlates of ultrasound, CT and MRI, Dr. Schneck made several seminal contributions. He characterized a previously undescribed first rib fibrous band as a potential cause of thoracic outlet syndrome. He published a paper that became the worldwide basis in orthopedic surgery for the proper placement of lumbar screws and plates. With a Temple colleague, he developed protocols and diagnostic parameters for MRI-imaging of the elbows, wrist, hand, knee, ankle, and foot. He traveled the country, lecturing and teaching board review and CME courses. Other experts called him for consultation on unusual cases. In addition, he made strategic contributions to the school and Temple University -- in curriculum development, faculty affairs, alumni relations, and many other areas. He worked upwards of 100 hours a week for 51 years.

When the Medical Education and Research Building was built, colleagues and current and former students rallied to name the Gross Anatomy Laboratory in his honor. A scholarship fund was also established in his name. And a few years ago, inspired by gratefulness for all he learned from Dr. Schneck, a 1970 alumnus made a million-dollar gift to keep the Schneck Lab current with leading-edge technologies. Our hearts go out to Dr. Schneck’s devotees. And to Mrs. Schneck (Freda), married to Carson since 1956, and their two daughters, both Temple grads: Stephanie BA '83, MD '87, pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and Deborah, BA '81, MBA '83, and their families.

SchneckThe Schneck family asks that gifts in his memory be made to the Carson Schneck, MD, PhD Endowed Scholarship Fund. You can donate online or mail a check to: Temple University, Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 827651, Philadelphia, PA 19182-7651. Please note Schneck, MD, PhD Endowed Scholarship Fund (S4321) on the memo line.

As in-person attendance at the funeral will be limited to immediate family, the Schneck family asks that the Temple family view the funeral service online through the Church's Facebook page: Trinity Great Swamp UCC. The service begins at 10:30 am on Friday, November 12.

After the holiday season, we’ll partner with the Schneck family to plan a life-celebration for Dr. Schneck for the Temple community.

More information will follow. In the meantime, please add your thoughts and memories to the online message board we have created in his honor.

Read "Imprints of Temple Medical School" by Dr. Schneck (2012)