Who were Earl and Josephine Snyder?

The Earl V. Snyder Innovation Management Center was endowed in 1993 with a bequest from the estate of Whitman School of Management alumna Josephine (nee Snyder) Snyder ’29 in honor of her husband.

Josephine Snyder, 1929 SU Yearbook

Josephine Weiler Snyder was born May 9, 1908, to Fred T. and Ellen (Weiler) Snyder. She grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania and attended Syracuse University from 1925-1929, where she majored in business administration. While at SU she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, Silver Bay Club, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Women’s Congress, and Women’s Athletic Association. She also served as president of the Sorority Group and office manager of the Onondagan. She participated in a range of sports: field hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, swimming, rifle team, track, and lacrosse. Snyder married Earl V. Snyder (yes, they shared the same family name) in 1930, during the Great Depression. Earl Snyder was also a Pennsylvanian; he attended Lafayette College and the University of Cincinnati. At the time of their wedding, Earl was working as a draftsman and Josephine as a stenographer in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Josephine & Earl Snyder (seated), in Rochester, NY. Source: Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), Mon, Mar 20, 1950.

The couple moved to the Rochester, N.Y., area in 1934, when Earl was technical field manager for L. H. Gilmer Company of Philadelphia. By the time World War II broke out, the couple was living in Irondequoit, N.Y. Earl was representative for two manufacturing companies: on his draft card he indicated that his employers were T.B. Wood’s Sons Co., of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and L. H. Gilmer Co. Indeed, from the start, Mr. Snyder’s career was entwined with innovation management. Both of these firms were leading innovators, designers, manufacturers and marketers of products such as v-belts, timing belts and pulleys that were used to transfer controlled power from an electric motor or internal combustion engine to a machine. Like the semiconductor industry of today, these technologies were rapidly disrupting and transforming industries: from mining and milling to agriculture and manufacturing.

Josephine Snyder, meanwhile, remained active as a young alumna with the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She also spearheaded the planning of annual alumni galas of Syracuse graduates in Rochester, which would draw hundreds of Orange alums and guests. In 1942, during her presidency of the Syracuse University Alumnae Club of Rochester, the group established a $400 scholarship to pay $100 for four years, to a young woman of the Rochester area demonstrating “scholastic achievement, leadership, worthiness and general promise.” In 1946, when Earl was New York State manager for the Gilmer Division of U.S. Rubber Company, the Snyders purchased one of Rochester’s oldest businesses, the 80-year-old Mathews & Boucher wholesale hardware dealership. The Snyders incorporated the concern under the Mathews & Boucher name, with Earl as president and Josephine as treasurer. At the time, Earl Snyder was also a partner in the Jordan Supply Company, in Buffalo, N.Y., a refrigeration and industrial supply firm.

After their “retirement” in 1958, Josephine and Earl Snyder made their home in Tucson, Arizona, where they quickly immersed themselves in their new community and continued to pursue their love for travel, the outdoors and preservation of nature, civic engagement, competitive challenges, and philanthropic support of causes important to them. Earl launched yet another career, as a financial adviser, first with Walston & Co. and then as a top-producing stockbroker with Hornblower & Weeks-Hemphill Noyes before starting his own advisory service. He was a member of the Pima County Sheriff’s Posse, the Sabbar Shrine Temple, and maintained membership in the American Society of Engineers.

Earl V. Snyder died December 23, 1977 at the age of 71. Josephine W. Snyder lived until April 19, 1993. After Ms. Snyder’s death, Syracuse University received a generous bequest from the estate of Josephine Snyder to establish the Earl V. Snyder Innovation Management Center. The Snyder endowment is the most significant contribution to the study of innovation management at SU since the program was established in the early eighties. We are grateful to Earl and Josephine Snyder, who knew the value of innovation to our economy and wanted to make certain that students could learn about this very important area.