Dr. Lee F. Snyder
Bluffton's eighth president, Lee Snyder, joined the community in the summer of 1996. She came to Bluffton from Eastern Mennonite University where she had served as vice president and academic dean.
Born to a Mennonite farm family living in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Snyder received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Oregon in 1972. In 1974, Snyder took a position as assistant to the academic dean at Eastern Mennonite University. She was named academic dean in 1984 and then assumed the responsibilities of vice president as well in 1987. During the 22 years she was in the administrative offices at EMU, Snyder also taught part time in the English department.
Grow up on a ryegrass farm.
Graduate from high school.
Take one year of college work.
Marry high school sweetheart.
Start raising a family.
This does not resemble the usual background for the life of a college president. But Lee Snyder was not the ordinary college president.
Lee and Del Snyder's life began taking multiple turns when they accepted a teaching assignment in West Africa under the Mennonite Board of Missions. From 1965 to 1968 they, accompanied by their two small daughters, Lori and Judy, taught in Nigeria and gained a new perspective on the world before returning to Oregon.
Del, a teacher of mathematics, began to work on his doctorate while Lee finished her undergraduate degree at University of Oregon. Del then took a teaching position with Eastern Mennonite University and Lee was able to work on a graduate degree.