Planned gift ensures UNI jazz program stays in full swing
More than a half century has passed since Phil Snyder ‘56 graduated from Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa). He still has fond regards for his alma mater. Snyder recalls his days playing in the jazz band. "We often packed the Old Aud. It was a thrill to play in the band, but my first love was arranging and composing for jazz concerts. The jazz program was one of the first in the country and was student run."
Snyder says he is proud to be a UNI grad. His studies prepared him for a long and successful career in music education. He retired after 47 years of teaching music to elementary and middle school students in California and Illinois. He met his wife, Sachi, while teaching in California. She taught second and third graders in the same school district.
Last fall, Snyder brought Sachi to campus for the first time. They toured the School of Music and attended the Annual Scholarship Luncheon. "We were so impressed," he said. "At the luncheon, students and donors meeting and eating together, student speakers, and the entertainment-it was a transforming moment for us."
The Snyders' visit confirmed that they wanted to support the university in a lasting way. They have supported the jazz program for many years and fund an annual scholarship to recognize outstanding jazz improvisation. Snyder said, "We don't have children, and UNI has meant a lot to me. The jazz program has grown to become one of the top ranked in the nation. We want to see that continue so we created the Phil and Sachi Snyder Endowed Scholarship in Jazz Studies through an estate gift. Jazz is America's only truly original art form and we must keep it alive!"
Thanks to the Snyders' foresight, the UNI School of Music's jazz program will continue in full swing for generations to come.