Maryland – USA. The University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business will study enterprise and markets at a new centre of excellence funded by $5 million from The Snider Foundation, led by alumnus Ed Snider. An additional $1 million commitment from the Charles Koch Foundation will help create The Ed Snider Centre for Enterprise and Markets.
Rajshree Agarwal, the Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Smith School, will serve as the centre's first director. In addition to supporting existing faculty and student engagement, the gifts will enable the hiring of three tenured or tenure-track professors, along with five PhD students and four post-doctoral fellows. Plans for the centre also include hiring a managing director and two support staff members.
"I have pursued research in innovation and entrepreneurship because I believe that truly successful businesses are moral enterprises, resulting from productivity, integrity and a sense of purpose," Agarwal said. "The Snider Center will promote a multidisciplinary exploration of the institutions that affect human enterprise, thereby impacting the prosperity and wellbeing of individuals and societies."
Ed Snider is an international sports and marketing visionary and the Chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based firm that has its roots in Snider's start-up of the Philadelphia Flyers, the National Hockey League's most successful original expansion franchise. After earning an accounting degree from the University of Maryland and passing the CPA exam, Snider worked one week as an accountant. He and his partner then started their own record distribution business from the back of his car. During that period, he co-founded the National Association of Record Merchandisers (NARM), which exists to this day.
Snider has also been generous with his philanthropy. In addition to chairing The Snider Foundation, in 2007 he created the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation ("Snider Hockey"). Snider Hockey provides more than 3,000 high-risk, inner-city children free equipment and ice time, free hockey instruction and league competition annually, together with mentoring, homework help and a life skills program. Participants in Snider Hockey have a year over year matriculation rate of 98 percent and its programs help young athletes achieve success in their chosen sport.
"This gift to the University of Maryland is a homecoming for me," Snider said. "While I built my career in Philadelphia, I cherished my time at UMD and never lost my connection to my alma mater. My entrepreneurial nature, coupled with the accounting degree I earned at Maryland, enabled me to take advantage of life's opportunities. My vision for today's college students is that they are armed with those skills, motivations and freedoms that I was and that enabled me to create value and opportunity for others through my various business endeavours."
The Snider Foundation commitment is the second-largest in school history, behind the $15 million naming gift from Robert H. Smith in 1997.
"Ed Snider's generous support will help us reach our goal of stimulating student innovation and entrepreneurship campus wide," says University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "Mr. Snider is one of our most successful alumni because of his entrepreneurial and innovative strengths. The new centre will help our students understand the way organizations can allow creative ideas to flourish."
"The Snider Centre builds on the tradition of excellent scholarship and academic inquiry by UMD scholars," says Charles Koch Foundation President Brian Hooks. "We're excited to join the Snider family in supporting such a strong group of faculty whose research addresses important questions regarding the ability of individuals to lead fulfilling and productive lives."
"The Centre will not only study business as transactions among people within firms and markets, but also explore the history and philosophy of enterprise, markets and institutions," said Smith School Dean Alexander Triantis. "We're excited to pursue this interdisciplinary effort in collaboration with the College of Arts and Humanities and other schools at the university."