Snyder Recital Hall
The Snyder Recital Hall is the main facility in Presser Hall, named in honor of Dorothy and Lowell Snyder for their generous support of
The hall was originally named the Willis Auditorium in memory of the Hon. Frank B. Willis, ONU faculty member and politician. It appears that the auditorium bore his name between 1929 when Presser Hall opened and 1953 when the auditorium was converted into the university library’s reading room. In 1985 Presser Hall was renovated, and the reading room was returned to its original purpose as a performance hall. On February 16 1992 the hall was dedicated in memory of the Snyders.
The Snyder family has been associated with
Martin Luther Snyder was born in
Later the Snyder family assumed control of the newspaper, changing its name to the Ada Herald in 1916. The family’s association with the newspaper spanned 71 years. The Martin Luther Snyders has five children: Barton, Ruth (Mrs. Walter Knapp), Lowell, Edith (Mrs. Ray Bryant), and Ralph. All three sons attended Ohio Northern. Both Lowell and Ralph managed the Ada Herald at different periods, but Barton served as editor for almost 50 years. His wife, Marie, also worked on the newspaper.
All of the Snyder children retained an interest in the Ada Herald until it was sold to the Brown Publishing Company in 1966, even though some of them had left the area.
Dorothy Ames and Lowell F. Snyder, both natives of
Both were children of prominent
Mrs. Snyder, following her graduation from Ohio Northern in 1919, attended
Music continued to be an important part of their lives. Mrs. Snyder opened a piano studio in Bronxville and performed regularly in recitals and concerts throughout the area. Mr. Snyder joined the advertising department of J.C. Penney Company in 1931, and during the 30 years of his illustrious career, interrupted only by service in World War II, rose to become the head of advertising for all J.C. Penney stores. While working at J.C. Penney, Mr. Snyder put his violin career on hold “But that was O.K.,” he said, ”because working at J.C. Penney was very fulfilling and was a fun place ot work.” His heavy responsibilities at J.C. Penney often put him in close touch with the chairman, J.C. Penney. Lowell Snyder often spoke of Mr. Penney, a man he admired and respected.
Upon Mr. Snyder’s retirement in 1961. he returned to his first love – studying, practicing, and playing the violin. He bought a Stradivarius and made regular trips into the City to study with the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. He practiced daily and soon he and his wife were presenting recitals and concerts throughout the
Mr. Snyder took great pride in the scholarship fund which honored the memory of his beloved wife. He gave generously to the Fund each year, and at his death in 1991, the scholarship total was about $275,000. “The scholarship program is something I am proud of,” he said. “I feel good knowing Dorothy’s name will be remembered by other fine pianists over the years.” In recent years Mr. Snyder had used his Christmas card to relate to friends the names and brief biographies of Dorothy Ames Scholars and also alumni of the award. At Mr. Snyder’s request, Mrs. Snyder’s Steinway Grand Piano will be placed in a teaching studio, together with her portrait and the plaque on which the Dorothy Ames Snyder Piano Scholar of the Year are and will be listed. The piano is now being reconditioned by an outstanding piano reconditioning company.
When Mr. Snyder died in February 1991, he bequeathed his estate to
In recognition of Mr. Snyder’s generous bequest, the trustees of the University have taken action to name the recital hall in Presser the Dorothy Ames and Lowell Snyder Recital Hall.
From Dedication Program,