Alumni Profile: Roy Schuyler, III
Before concluding his keynote presentation at the Graduate School’s Career Exploration Workshop at Penn State’s University Park campus in October, Roy Schuyler, III shared a piece of advice that is in keeping with the way he has led his own life: “Leave a legacy.”
Since receiving an M.S. degree and Ph.D. in Metallurgy at Penn State in 1972 and 1975, respectively, Schuyler has created a distinguished legacy of volunteer service and philanthropy at his alma mater. He joined the Graduate School Alumni Society Board of Directors in 2015 as the representative of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and has continually participated in professional development events tailored to the needs and interests of graduate students. Honored as a Centennial Fellow of the College in 1996, Schuyler is also a member of the Obelisk Society, which recognizes benefactors for cumulative lifetime giving to the College.
“I am passionate about helping students, both graduate and undergraduate, better understand what is in store for them after they complete their formal education,” Schuyler said. “I have chosen to share my time and expertise to help students develop better mental models and use them to make better choices, both while in school and throughout their careers as well.”
After receiving his doctorate, Schuyler was employed by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, until his retirement in 2001, in a variety of technical, supervisory and managerial positions in research and development, engineering design, and operations and maintenance. Throughout his career, he delivered numerous keynote addresses and dozens of technical presentations focused on reliability systems, knowledge-based decision making, and attainment of competitive advantage through technology and manufacturing supply chain effectiveness.
Schuyler authored a landmark paper on the blistering of carbon steels in anhydrous hydrofluoric acid that was cited numerous times by the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigations. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Reliability Engineering at the University of Maryland for several years.
Schuyler’s presentation at the Career Exploration Workshop was titled Securing a Job as a Process. Building upon the presentation’s theme, individual panel discussions focused on Defining the Job You Want, Marketing Yourself, and Closing the Deal.
Schuyler intentionally crafted messages in his presentations that were designed to resonate with graduate students throughout their life.
“From time to time during your career, reflect more on who you are and what you want out of life because this is not a dress rehearsal,” he advised the graduate students. “Risk more because you learn a lot more from your failures than you do from your successes. If you don’t risk, you don’t grow. And do more things that will remain when you are gone. Leave a legacy.”
In 2005, Schuyler published a book that provides a detailed description of how organizations are constructed, how they operate, and how they can be improved so that employees are better equipped to navigate their individual pathway within any organization.
“My book, Know Your Organization, recognizes that modern organizations—business, academic, and governmental—are larger and more complex than ever before,” Schuyler said. “They are also much less paternalistic, and as a consequence, employees must learn how to contribute to the success of their organization, but simultaneously take care of themselves.”
Schuyler acquired a lasting appreciation for the value of higher education from his parents, Roy L. Schuyler and Delcena Crabtree Schuyler, both Penn State graduates. Schuyler’s mother received her M.S. degree and Ph.D. in Chemistry, in 1934 and 1937, respectively. Schuyler proudly stated that his mother was the second woman to receive a doctorate in a science discipline at Penn State. His father, a three-time football letterman who received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering in 1937, attended the University on academic and athletic scholarships.
As he prepared to deliver the keynote at the Career Exploration Workshop, Schuyler contemplated his own personal and professional imprint.
“As I reflect on my career, the things that have become most important to me are not the positions I held or how much money I made, but my legacy as revealed in the technical contributions I made that have proven useful to others, and the difference I made in other peoples’ lives,” he said.
By any measure, Schuyler’s legacy is considerable and ever-expanding.