Inspired Faculty: J Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., MCRP, AICP
“Let me tell you a story.”
Talking with J. Anthony Snorgrass, Ph.D., MCRP, AICP is an adventure for both the eyes and ears. As a professor of communication and director of the Center for Digital Advocacy (CDA) at Avila University, his office in the school of visual and communication arts (VisCom) is filled with an eclectic collection of memorabilia from an eclectic life.
But the first thing you notice is that Dr. Snorgrass is impeccably dressed at all times. Sports communications major Christopher Grissom noticed it right away. "His teaching style is business with style," Grissom said. "He wants you to understand that when you start a real job this is what will be expected of you. He inspires me to take pride in everything I do and to pay attention to detail, so I'm not just good at it, but I'm exceptional."
"It's my uniform," said Dr. Snorgrass. "When you spend as long as I have in business and being surrounded by power people, you dress accordingly.”
And he passes it on to his students.
“When I am teaching and lecturing, I consider myself to be in theatre.“
“For me, the uniform symbolizes professionalism as well as its time to get down to business, nothing casual about it. I'm a bottom-line guy, results-oriented."
Dr. Snorgrass loves to tell stories, and his office is the home to many of them. Quickly look around the room and you’ll see that every item (book, trinket or photo), has a background and they serve as launching pads for Dr. Snorgrass to begin another story. Whether it's the old-fashioned typewriter once used by his father or the many news clippings from his wide and varied business ventures, they all have an interesting story to tell.
"My world is eclectic. These things reflect my personality and the way I like to work, cross-platform with multiple projects in various stages of completion surrounding me."
His journey to Avila is nothing short of remarkable. “I search for an opportunity to showcase and contribute,” he said. “I look for things that need help.”
His resume tells that story. He has been director of policy, evaluation and field management for a Washington D.C. corporation, executive director of a housing authority, president and CEO of a management and training company, had faculty appointments at Kansas University, Park University, Alabama State and Alabama A&M, vice president of an advertising agency and Dr. Snorgrass has owned and operated a men's haberdashery.
“I even had job offers from House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. Both sides of the political aisle,” Snorgrass chuckled. “How about that?”
“Then I began to realize that what eluded me was a doctorate degree, my Ph.D.,” he said. “So what did I do, I rolled up my sleeves and got busy.” In 2009, he received his doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. He was honored with the university’s “Change Maker” award in 2011 for his work in promoting causes and social change via social media.
Dr. Snorgrass inspires his students to roll up their sleeves and get busy.
He inspires students to reach beyond grades. "I want to instill drive in my students," he said. "I want them to grab the opportunity to learn, explore, and discover, and do more than just what is required for a certain grade. When I was hiring in the business world, I would always lean towards the exposed C student over the constrained A student."
Casey Lee, ’16, graduated from Avila with a sports communications degree and was editor-in-chief of the Avila Talon magazine for three years. "I was ready to coast while in school," Lee said. "All I was focused on was doing the bare minimum. Thankfully, this was unacceptable for Dr. Snorgrass. He never let me slide by without stepping up to my full potential."
Junior VisCom student Reginald David agrees. "He showed me that education is important, that knowledge is power," David said. "I'm blessed to have Dr. J as my professor."
Ben Pascoe, assistant professor of communication at Avila, has high regard for Dr. Snorgrass. “He is a remarkable guy,” Pascoe said. “He knows everything, he’s done nearly everything, and his students love him.”