Jonathan L. Snyder (b. 1859 d. 1918)

Jonathan L. SnyderPresident
State Agricultural College
1896–1915

Jonathan LeMoyne Snyder (b. November 29, 1859; d. November 23, 1918) was the seventh president of M.A.C. He directed the growth of the College from 1896 to 1915, during which period, regular enrollment increased from 300 to 2,000 students.

Snyder, eldest son of a Centerville (Slippery Rock), Pennsylvania farm family, graduated from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA in 1886 with a B.A. degree in Pedagogy. He taught at Fairview School (near Centerville) until 1889 when he was selected to become the principal of the 5th ward School in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Pittsburgh). In 1891 he received a Ph.D. degree from Westminster College in Psychology and Pedagogy. His farming background, his staunch disciplinarianism, his innovative educational concepts, as well as he relative youth led to his election as president of M.A.C. on February 11, 1896.

His tenure at M.A.C. was one that saw growth and innovation. Direct mail correspondence between Snyder and potential students, promotional literature and promotional calendars all led to an increase in the previously declining student enrollment. He further advocated training women at the college, though the women's curriculum was primarily limited to the domestic sciences. Snyder also promoted the "Short Course" programs whereby anyone could receive eight weeks of intensive training in topics related to agriculture, taught by the college faculty. Limited experimentation with summer classes, railroad institutes (where M.A.C. faculty members traveled by train throughout the rural areas of the state lecturing and presenting demonstrations to the state's farmers) and county extension service were also initiated during his presidency.

In 1908 the University of Michigan conferred upon Snyder the degree of Doctor of Laws. Snyder resigned as president in 1914 but the State Board of Agriculture did not accept the resignation until the end of the school year in 1915. Three years later Snyder died on his farm following a series of heat strokes and heart attacks. Snyder married Clara Maude Mifflin on June 15, 1892. They had three sons: Robert (b. 1893); LeMoyne (b. 1898) and Plummer (b. 1900).

Finding aid to the Jonathan L. Snyder papers (UA 2.1.7)


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