Outgoing VP Snyder leaves lasting impression at OU

By Kevin Graham

Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder announced her retirement April 29 after nearly two decades at OU.

She has been replaced on an interim basis by Dean of Students Glenn McIntosh.

During her time as vice president, several new student programs and services were created. The Oakland Center has also seen expansion, and most recently, she was involved in the planning for both the new residence hall and Elliott Carillon Tower.

Change is good

With Snyder’s departure, her position is the fourth high ranking administrative job, which is open at this point. The others are Provost and the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business Administration.

Snyder said change is inevitable.

“I’m a person who is very comfortable with change. I think it’s always good for some change to go on,” Snyder said. “I think with the right hires in some of the vacant positions, you’re going to bring fresh ideas, fresh eyes.”

She feels OU is on the brink of several improvements. But, parking remains an issue.

“You’re going to see a very different campus environment two years from now,” she said. “In the meantime, I and all my colleagues know that parking needs to be improved. We continue to need to make sure that the Oakland experience is convenient for the types of students that come to Oakland.”

She also mentioned ongoing improvement of faculty and academic resources.

An engaged leader

McIntosh said Snyder knew how to get the most out of people.

“She is such a dynamic person and leader that  inspires people to be the very best,” McIntosh said. “I think as a result of that she has been able to really create a team within the division of student affairs that she has led to accomplish so many things at Oakland University from new facilities, renovation of facilities, to new programs and services, all with the goal of better serving students.”

Director of Undergraduate Admissions Eleanor Reynolds said the students always came first for Snyder.

“In all the things that we did, there was just a sense that we needed to be positive and always represent the most positive faith and make sure that what we were doing was going to be in the best interest of the student,” she said.

Student Liaison to the Board of Trustees Robbie Williford said she really tried to involve students in the decision-making process.

“There are things, I guess you could say privileged information, that administrators don’t have to share with students, for example, the preliminary designs for the housing building,” he said. “She let (student leaders) be a part of all the design meetings. We all got to meet with the design firm. They got to pick our brains. That’s something that you don’t normally get to see.”

Creating a community

 Snyder said she’s proud of the amount of pride students take in OU despite the lack of a football team.

“It’s easy to create that warm, fuzzy feeling in your alma mater when every Saturday everyone goes out to a big football game,” she said. “We’ve been able to do that with our alums absent that kind of experience that you find at a Michigan State or a Michigan.”

She said the school spirit is the result of students taking full advantage of everything OU has to offer.

“I think our student leaders over and over have demonstrated that they get it early on in their freshman years, sophomore years in some cases,” Snyder said. “This is just a cornucopia of opportunities to learn something about themselves and make them stronger and better prepared for life and their careers.”