The tributes Friday for Alexander Schure, founder and first president of the New York Institute of Technology, included words like "visionary" and "pioneer." People said he was passionate about education.
Schure died Thursday at New Island Hospital in Bethpage from complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 89 and lived in Massapequa.
Schure founded NYIT in 1955 in New York City. Before that, though, he started a trade school in 1945 to help soldiers returning from World War II, his daughter said. The trade school blossomed into a junior college. Schure also served in the Army Signal Corps during the war, stationed in Colorado Springs, said his daughter, Barbara Weinschel of Roslyn Heights.
Schure was president of NYIT from 1955 to 1982, then chancellor of the college until 1991. The university's main campus now sits on a sprawling 300 acres in Old Westbury, where the campus was established in the mid-1960s. NYIT also has a campus in Manhattan at West 61st Street and Broadway.
"I was on the faculty when he was here and I listened to his very inspirational, visionary statements of where New York Institute of Technology was going to go," NYIT president Edward Guiliano said Friday.
His idea, Guiliano said, was to prepare students for "applications-oriented careers. We would create the technicians, engineers in particular, and he embraced technology wholeheartedly . . . teaching and learning with technology."
A son, Louis Schure of Albertson, recalled, "He wanted collegiate education to be available to the everyday man and woman."
Schure's wife Gail said her husband was motivated by a desire "to give somebody a chance. That really meant a lot to him."
Schure, born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - his family moved to New York when he was 2 years old - received a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York; and a master's degree and two doctorates from New York University - one in communications and the other in education, Weinschel said.
Besides his academic career, Schure was an inventor, holding patents in computer graphics and radio and telecommunications, Guiliano said. Schure directed the first computer-animated feature film, "Tubby the Tuba," along with Pixar co-founders Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, who worked at NYIT's computer graphics lab in 1974, according to NYIT.
Schure also served as chancellor of Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and became president of the New York College for Wholistic Health, Education and Research in Syosset in 2001.
Schure's first wife, Dorothy Schure, preceded him in death. Besides his current wife, Gail, daughter Barbara and son Louis, he is survived by sons Matthew Schure, a former NYIT president, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Jonathan Schure of Port Washington; a stepson, John Impellizeri of Massapequa; a sister, Esther Gilbert of Huntsville, Ala.; 13 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A service for Schure will be held 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Gutterman's Funeral Home in Woodbury. Burial is to be private.