Born on a farm in Oregon and raised in a Mennonite community, Lee Snyder’s life and work follows a trajectory that she herself would never have imagined. She, her husband Del, and two preschool daughters lived in West Africa in the late 1960s, stationed at the Qua Ibo Secondary School in the heart of the equatorial rain forest. Only after returning from Nigeria, when her daughters entered elementary school, was Lee able to complete college.
The family’s move in the early 1970s from the West Coast to Virginia for her husband’s appointment to the mathematics department at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) led to Lee’s graduate work in English literature, teaching, and eventual appointment as vice-president and academic dean, EMU. Following twelve years as dean, Lee accepted the presidency at Bluffton (Oh.) University. As eighth president of the institution, and its first female head, Lee served at Bluffton ten years.
Moving back to Virginia after officially retiring from the Bluffton presidency in 2006, Lee continues a variety of assignments with educational organizations, boards of trustees, and the church. She and her husband divide their time between Virginia and Oregon where they maintain a residence. Lee and Del are members of Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and associate members of Salem Mennonite Church in Oregon.
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