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Snyder Boosts Business School

by Carol Olechowski (November 22, 2005)

From left: Deborah A. W. Read, vice president for University Development; President Kermit L. Hall; Norman E. Snyder, Jr.; Paul Leonard, dean of the School of Business; and student Zack Berkovich, president for the day.

From left: Deborah A. W. Read, vice president for University Development; President Kermit L. Hall; Norman E. Snyder, Jr.; Paul Leonard, dean of the School of Business; and student Zack Berkovich, president for the day.

When he first arrived on the University at Albany campus in fall 1979, Norman E. Snyder, Jr., B.S.'83, never anticipated that he would be helping the University and its School of Business score a "hat trick" in 2005. But that's exactly what happened Oct. 17 when Snyder announced that he was making the largest individual gift ever – $5 million – to establish an endowment in his name.

"Twenty-six years ago this fall," Snyder remembered, "I stepped onto this campus, green and wet behind the ears. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that I would be standing up here today. One of the reasons I am here is that I had the philosophy that, if you are fortunate and have the means to do so, you have the responsibility to support institutions, causes, organizations, and groups that share similar beliefs. The University at Albany is one of those."

After earning an accounting degree, Snyder went to work at PriceWaterhouse, one of the largest accounting and consulting firms in the world. His eight years there included a two-year assignment in the company's Caracas, Venezuela, office. Snyder later served as comptroller for the National Football League's marketing arm, NFL Properties, Inc., then turned to more entrepreneurial pursuits: launching the South Beach Beverage Company in 1995 and acting as its chief operating officer. SoBe, a line of premium, non-carbonated, ready-to-drink teas and fruit juices, became enormously successful. PepsiCo purchased the company in January 2001, and Snyder retired later that year.

Shortly, however, he found himself establishing and heading a new consulting firm, Redyns, which offered financial and operational advice to small and medium-sized companies. Snyder left Redyns to join Rheingold Brewing Company and is now the New York City-based brewer's chief operating officer.

Introducing Snyder to the staff and media representatives present for the announcement, University President Kermit L. Hall noted: "We are going to celebrate a really remarkable feat by the School of Business today. In sports, it's called a hat trick – three goals in one game by a single player. It requires exceptional skill and talent."

Hall added that the first feat occurred Oct. 5, with the announcement of the new Nanotechnology Management Program, or Nano+MBA. The program, which will begin enrolling students in 2006, is a challenging two-year, 63-credit course that combines innovative nanoscience concepts with the strengths of UAlbany's business administration program. Men and women opting for this course of study will gain knowledge in nanotechnology – a cross-disciplinary scientific platform that involves manipulating matter at the atomic scale and promises innovation in such fields as chip manufacturing, fuel cell development, drug delivery, and sensor technology – and earn the M.B.A.

Six days later came the second feat, when New York Business Development Council President and Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Lazar, B.S. '77, and the NYBDC made a $51,000 gift – the first donation designated to support construction of a $40 million School of Business building. The proposed 80,000-square-foot structure will feature technologically advanced classrooms and meeting spaces, as well as wireless Internet access. An atrium with a cafeteria designed to promote faculty-student interaction, breakout rooms for team projects, space for student and career services, student reception areas, and additional graduate assistant work space are also planned.

UAlbany's School of Business aims to become the premier business school in the Northeast by attracting top students, strengthening partnerships with national firms, increasing resources dedicated to research, and contributing to Capital Region economic development.


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