IGS Principal welcomes extraordinary Bibliothèque gift

IGS Principal Shauna Colnan has welcomed an extraordinary gift from IGS parent Professor Allan Snyder and his family for the new Bibliothèque.

The Snyder family’s unprecedented What’s Next? gift will build resources that will spark the curiosity of IGS students aged 3 to 18 and inspire them for many years to come.

“We could not be more grateful that Professor Snyder and his family have taken such an interest in our School and the new Bibliothèque,” Ms Colnan said.

“It’s been exhilarating to meet Professor Snyder, whose widely acknowledged qualifications, achievements and contributions are remarkable.”

Professor Allan Snyder

Professor Snyder met Ms Colnan, Bibliothèque Director Jenny Williams and Assistant Director Patrice Marchbank to swap ideas about resources as diverse as popular science journals, and the Why Is It So? ABC television shows of Professor Julius Sumner Miller of last century.

Professor Snyder is particularly interested in human endeavour beyond the edges of what is already known.

The former Guggenheim Fellow at Yale University School of Medicine and Royal Society Research Fellow at the Physiology Laboratories of Cambridge University is a graduate of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University College London.

Dr Snyder’s research career began with insect vision, light transmission in optical fibre for communication and extended into mind sciences. He has an abiding interest in understanding how the minds of savants perceive and interpret the world, and how to activate some aspects of savant brain function in non-savant individuals.

Dr Snyder was the Creator and Chairman of the “What Makes a Champion?” forum, an official Olympic cultural event first held at the Sydney 2000, then again Beijing in 2008. His What Makes a Champion? book includes entries from 50 champions from all walks of life including Nelson Mandela along with other stellar achievers.

“Do all champions share some fundamental characteristic that ensures success?”

“What gives a great athlete, artist or scientist the ability to achieve extraordinary things? Is it sheer passion for what they do? Strength acquired through adversity?

“Can champions be crafted, or do they simply emerge through talent, personality and force of circumstances?”

His book explores questions such as these.

Among other accolades, Dr Snyder was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1990 cited for his advances in insect vision, optical fibre transmission, and is the recipient of their 2001 Clifford Paterson Prize. He was also awarded the Marconi International prize the world’s “foremost prize in communication and information technology”.

Allan Snyder was the foundation director of the Centre for the Mind, a joint venture of the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.

“At IGS, we are profoundly grateful for this gift from the Snyder family,” Ms Colnan said.