Joseph J. Snyder, former treasurer, dies at 87
Joseph J. Snyder of Manchester-by-the-Sea, who served 25 years as treasurer and 24 as a vice president of MIT, died February 28 of congestive heart failure after a long illness. He was 87. A memorial service at MIT will be held at a date to be announced.
Mr. Snyder was responsible for both the stewardship of MIT's financial assets and the management of its investments, as well as for the Institute's financial operations and financial relations. He also managed the handling of contractual arrangements for MIT's large volume of government research, becoming recognized as one of the leading university financial officers in the nation.
More than 40 ago, Mr. Snyder began to accumulate reserve funds to protect MIT against what he saw as the fiscal uncertainties associated with having a large portion of the Institute's revenues depend on government-sponsored research.
Mr. Snyder's vision was saluted by Glenn P. Strehle, MIT's vice president for finance and treasurer, who succeeded Mr. Snyder in that post.
"What he saw coming certainly arrived," Mr. Strehle said, speaking of the changes in federal research support, "and thanks to his initiative in the 1950s, the Institute is better able to deal with the post-Cold War world of the 1990s."
When Mr. Snyder retired in 1975, Howard W. Johnson, then chairman of the MIT Corporation, said the university was "indebted to him for more than a quarter of a century of wise and prudent stewardship of our financial investments and fiscal affairs."
Mr. Snyder continued serving MIT as Life Member of the Corporation. He became Life Member emeritus in 1983.
A native of Finlay, OH, Mr. Snyder was born in1907. He graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in 1931. In 1934 he earned the MBA at Harvard University.
He was associated with Colonial Management Associates, Inc., a registered investment adviser, and its predecessor companies from 1934, and served as a director from 1945 to1974. Mr. Snyder was a trustee of Boston Five Cents Savings Bank and a director of Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies and Arthur D. Little, Inc. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Boston Economic Club.
Mr. Snyder joined MIT in the early days of World War II. The now-famous Radiation Laboratory, where radar was developed, was just gearing up and Mr. Snyder became a member of the lab's Office of Business Administration. That work brought him into contact with Horace S. Ford, then treasurer of MIT, who recognized his young colleague's potential. When Mr. Ford approached retirement, he recommended Mr. Snyder as his successor. He was appointed assistant treasurer in 1946 and was elected treasurer in 1950 when Mr. Ford retired.
On April 3, 1937, he and Helen Torrance Colburn were married. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children, Clinton L. Snyder of Erdenheim, PA, J. M.acGeorge Snyder of Burlington, VT, and Susanne C. Rappaport of West Pawlet, VT, and a brother, Raymond Snyder of Naples, FL.
Contributions in his memory may be made to MIT, care of the Recording Secretary.
A memorial service for William H. Ramsey '51, executive director of Engineering Special Programs, will be held Thursday, March 23, at 3pm in the MIT Chapel followed by a reception in the Religious Activities Center. Mr. Ramsey, a mentor and role model to hundreds of students, died unexpectedly on January 14 at the age of 67.
Francis J. Murphy
A funeral Mass was held February 22 for Francis J. Murphy, 75, of Jamaica Plain, who died on February 17. Mr. Murphy was a member of the dormitory patrol in the Housing Service from 1962 until his retirement in 1984. He leaves a daughter, Marie Happeny of Braintree, and three grandsons.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 8, 1995.