With the desire to promote positive influence and honor his family’s longstanding tradition in the agricultural industry, West Virginia University alumnus Michael “Blair” Snyder has established the Snyder Family Scholarship.
This endowed scholarship fund will benefit undergraduate West Virginia resident Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design students who are pursuing a degree in an agriculture-related field. First preference will be given to Preston County students, or students who are descendants of Preston County natives, who are affiliated with the National Future Farmers of America Organization or 4-H.
Snyder hopes that support from this fund will “help promote the positive influence of an agriculture-related lifestyle on family, ethics, community support and character, consistent with individuals involved in ag-related businesses.”
This lifestyle is one with which Snyder has great familiarity.
“My family, for many generations, has been involved in the agricultural industry,” said Snyder. “My father Earl Joseph Snyder and my uncle Glenn Snyder, Jr., were the first to leave the family farm and earn their degrees – both in agriculture-related majors – from West Virginia University.”
After retiring from the Air Force in 1985, the late Lt. Col. Earl Joseph Snyder worked as a field scout for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. He was also involved with FFA and 4-H, and would regularly host his grandson’s Boy Scout Troop at the family’s farm in Preston County.
Glenn Snyder, Jr. received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WVU and started his career as a Harrison County 4-H agent in 1957. Soon after, he moved to the role of WVU Extension Service state specialist in 4-H agricultural programs, retiring in 1987. In 2003, he was inducted into the West Virginia 4-H Hall of Fame.
Following in his family’s footsteps, Blair Snyder built a 29-year career in the agricultural industry after receiving his bachelor’s in business administration from WVU in 1983. He started out working for Perdue Farms, followed by Townsend’s Inc., before developing his own company, Agri Stats, Inc., from which he retired as CEO and Chairman in 2013.
His brother Brian Snyder and son Michael Blair Snyder, Jr., remain involved with Agri Stats, Inc., currently serving as president and director of human resources, respectively.
“My hope for each student who receives this scholarship is that he or she will become a productive participant in providing low cost, agricultural products used to feed our growing world population,” Blair Snyder said. “The ultimate goal is for these students to graduate from WVU with the desire and ability to positively impact society and the environment as a whole.”
The Snyder Family Scholarship is now one of more than 50 endowed scholarship funds available in the WVU Davis College.
“This scholarship will open doors to exceptional opportunities for our students,” said WVU Davis College Dean Daniel J. Robison. “We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Snyder, and others like him, who recognize and respond to the ongoing need for scholarship support in the Davis College as we continue to expand our programs and opportunities for students, and help to encourage their studies in agriculture.”
This gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion fundraising effort, being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University, runs through December 2017.
CONTACT: Nikky Luna; WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design 304.293.2394; Nikky.Luna@mail.wvu.edu