For more than a decade, Vern Snyder has led The University of Toledo’s friend-raising and fundraising efforts. It has been 12 years of major gifts, many frequent-flyer miles, and witnessing of scholarships awarded, faculty hired and facilities built.Come June 30, Snyder plans to step away from fundraising and UT, retiring after more than $160 million was raised by him and his team for UT students, staff, faculty and fans.
“One of the great things about any fundraising position is people you meet and the generosity of spirit you see every day,” Snyder said. “Large gifts can do transformative things for a department or a college, but some of the most powerful memories I have come from people of modest means who sacrifice to fund something important to them that will live on long after they are gone.”
Snyder arrived at UT in 2001 and led the planning and execution of “The Time is Now” capital campaign from 2002 through 2008, raising $106 million for the University. Part of that amount was the largest gift in UT’s history: $15 million from University graduates Judith and Marvin Herb, and their sons, Thomas and Jon, to fund scholarships as well as educational assessment support and research initiatives in the — now named — Judith Herb College of Education.
UT is in the midst of a $200 million capital campaign, “A University Rising,” and Snyder is leaving the person ultimately chosen as his successor a strong team and a record of outstanding philanthropic success, said UT President Lloyd Jacobs.
“Vern’s leadership was on full display in 2006 when midway through UT’s capital campaign he was asked to embrace alumni and donors of the former Medical College of Ohio,” Jacobs said. “His will be as lasting an impact on this institution as anyone. It is through his work and donors’ generosity that higher education is made more affordable to thousands of students in perpetuity.”
With numerous facilities to point to, Snyder singled out his involvement in the development and construction of the Veterans’ Plaza located on the northwest corner of Centennial Mall.
“It’s a special place for a lot of people, myself included. I was honored to be part of a team of UT and community members to help make it happen,” he said.
Snyder also pointed to the transition over time of development officers and employees to the UT Foundation. The result is a savings of $4 million to the University.
“You won’t find a better return on investment rate anywhere on campus,” Snyder said with a smile.
While Snyder insists he won’t be lured back to development in the future, it’s likely his telephone will be ringing. With that Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive credential behind his name — one of only 96 nationwide and three in the state of Ohio — it’s a safe bet fundraising executives and organizations will be calling for guidance and advice.
“UT has been wonderful to my wife, Sue, and me for these last 12 years, and this community will remain our home,” Snyder said. “This is a good time for me to step back, and I’m excited for this University’s future.”