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King University News :: Dr. Jack E. Snider, Former King Senior Vice President Passes

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Jack E. Snider.  Dr. Jack E. Snider is recognized throughout the region as a fervent advocate of education and model of civic service.  He joined King College in 1955 and over five decades has faithfully served in a number of titles including Registrar, Director of Admissions, Director of Financial Aid, Director of Alumni Affairs, Professor of Education and Head of the Education Department.  Most recently he served as Senior Vice President, working tirelessly to cultivate financial aid resources for a rapidly growing student body.  Throughout his time with the college he has cultivated numerous colleagues and friends among the faculty, staff, alumni and community, and is one of the most beloved personalities to grace the College's 144-year history.

A native of Unicoi, Tennessee and an avid athlete, Snider played football, basketball and baseball in high school, and also played on an independent baseball team at the age of 16.

During World War II he served in the Army with the XVIIIth Airborne Corps, earning silver wings as a glider man. As a CG-4A glider pilot he was towed aloft by a C-47, landing behind enemy lines to participate in five major campaigns, including a mission to help liberate prisoners from the Wöbbelin concentration camp.  He was wounded just three days before the war's end.

Following the war, he attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he served as the athletic trainer for the Tennessee Vols. Snider assisted the team in conditioning and practices as well as in physical therapy, helping see the Vols to three Bowl games. After graduation Snider attended both Peabody College and Columbia University, receiving his doctorate in Humanities from Lincoln Memorial University.

During his studies Snider met his wife, Evelyn, the love of his life. A native of Erwin, Tenn., she was a landscape architect as well as a teacher, serving as an education professor at King and leading English classes at Tennessee High School. The couple married and in the following 44 years would visit all 50 states and 29 countries together.

In honor of Evelyn's passing, Snider created an endowment that today helps fund the King College English Department. The Evelyn Widener Snider English Scholar and Department Award was given to a student for the first time in 1998 and is bestowed upon a student of integrity who shares Evelyn's intense love of English.  Wanting the endowment not only to help the English Department but to be beneficial to the King College family and the public, Snider also helped pave the way for the creation of the Jack E. Snider Center for Honors.  The Center is a formal honors program that fosters intellectual curiosity in students and encourages growing scholars to incorporate a number of disciplines within their educational goals.  Since its establishment in 2004, the Center has welcomed such personalities as authors Sharyn McCrumb, Wendell Berry and Frederick Buechner, among others, to interact with students.  The first graduates of  the program received their honors as Snider Fellows in May 2007.

Evelyn was always interested in helping other people and certainly helped shape the lives of many of the people she touched, Snider said of the endowment's continuing benefits to numerous growing scholars.

Likewise, Snider has devoted his energy, efforts and talents to better the lives of numerous others. He is past president of the Kiwanis Club, served in the Chamber of Commerce and on the board of the Salvation Army. He devoted many years to the United Way, and is a past president of the Bristol Boys' Club, from which he received the Man and Boy Award in 1973 and the National Service Award in 1989. In 1995 he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from King in honor of his demonstration of exceptional character and Christian mentorship and service.

He served as a Blue and Gold Associate for the U.S. Naval Academy, primarily working with area applicants applying for admission, and is a past president of the Tennessee Associate of Collegiate Registrars; the Tennessee College Alumni Association; the Tennessee College Public Relations Association; and a member of the National Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He also served as executive director of the Mid-Appalachia College Council, Inc., a consortium of 12 area colleges.

In recent years Snider was presented three awards considered among the highest honors in their respective civic organizations. He received the Ruritan Club's Tom Downing Award as well as the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Award.  He was also awarded membership into the Kiwanis Club's prestigious George F. Hixson Fellowship, established to honor the first president of Kiwanis International.  One of the most visible recognitions of his distinguished career is the Jack E. Snider Bridge, located over Interstate 181.  The bridge's christening was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.

In conversation with students, Snider commented that I would like not to be just remembered as a friend or acquaintance, but work my way into people's hearts and be a part of someone's life.  If I can be a part of others' lives...then they will, in turn, do the same thing.  Then I will live on through the lives of  those I touch.