Longtime Lehigh Carbon Community College President Donald Snyder will retire at the end of the year, he told the college's board of trustees Thursday night.
Snyder, 61, originally planned to retire in 2014 but continued health concerns caused him to move up the date. He has faced open heart surgery and related health issues the last eight months, and last week was diagnosed with cancer.
LCCC Senior Vice President Ann Bieber will serve as interim president from Jan. 1-Aug. 31. Trustees will search for a new president to begin next Sept. 1.
“Much of the past week has been spent reviewing options and talking with my family. In reaching a decision, there was a need to take into consideration what is necessary for a full recovery of my health as well as what is in the best interest of the future of the college,” Snyder told the board.
Snyder has been LCCC’s president since September 2000. Prior to taking the helm of the community college that serves Lehigh, Carbon and Schuylkill counties, Snyder spent 20 years as a state representative of Pennsylvania’s 134th District, including leadership positions as the House Republican policy chairman from 1995-1996 and as House majority whip from 1997-2000.
“Serving LCCC has been a privilege and an honor,” Snyder said. “I’m proud to have been a part of LCCC’s focus on bringing to our students the very best in academics and a rich, rewarding jump-start on their careers.”
Under Snyder’s leadership, LCCC added a new campus in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, expanded the college’s presence at LCCC Allentown at the Donley Center and implemented a distance learning program which now represents more than 14 percent of the college’s enrollment. He also expanded dual enrollment programs with sponsoring school districts with college courses for high school students.
When Snyder began at LCCC, most of its students attended part-time and only a small portion continued their educations with four-year institutions. Snyder endeavored to provide greater opportunities for seamless transfer of students through partnerships with many public and private colleges and universities — several of which now offer baccalaureate programs at LCCC’s campus.
Developed in partnership with Bloomsburg University, LCCC created the state’s first bachelor of applied science degree, and it also implemented a mechatronics engineering degree in partnership with Temple University. The mechactronics program includes the fields of mechanics, hydraulics, welding, electronics, robotics and computer logic or programming to control, troubleshoot and repair modern manufacturing lines.
Snyder is a 1971 graduate of LCCC with an associate degree in business management. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Penn State, an MBA from Lehigh University, a juris doctor from Villanova University School of Law and a master’s degree in laws in commerce and taxation from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle.
While his health has led to his retirement decision, Snyder still will remain involved with LCCC.
“I look forward to continuing my involvement with the college in the coming years, continuing to grow community partnerships and strengthening LCCC’s alumni relations,” Snyder said.