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Through their leadership and philanthropy, the Snell family has played an integral role in Northeastern's evolution toard prominence. Pictured are George A. Snell, E'41, H'90, and his wife, Lorraine, at the dedication of Snell Engineering Center in 1984.

Snell Family Sets Standard for Leadership

During his sixty-year affiliation with Northeastern, the late George A. Snell, E'41, H'90, played an integral role in Northeastern's growth from a few rented classrooms at the YMCA to a major urban research university.

"Unrestricted gifts of this size are rare, and provide a unique opportunity to fund a top priority and make a significant impact."

Snell entered Northeastern in 1936, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Engineering. After serving in World War 2, he founded the successful Snell Construction Corporation in the Washington, D.C., area, where he and his wife, Lorraine, raised five daughters.

A Northeastern trustee from 1970 to 1997, Snell understood the challenges facing what was then the largest private university in the nation. Until his death in 1997, he helped guide the university to a new stage in its evolution toward international prominence.

"Northeastern would not be what it is today without the Snell family's leadership and vision over the years," says President Richard M. Freeland.

Time and again, the Snells demonstrated their loyalty to Northeastern, and responded to the university's most pressing needs. Their unstinting support of three key priorities — undergraduate financial aid, faculty, and the physical campus — made them the university's most generous benefactors of the twentieth century.

The couple established the George A. and Lorraine C. Snell Scholarship for talented students with financial need, and two professorships — the George A. Snell Professorship in Engineering and the Lorraine C. Snell Professorship in Health Care — to help ensure Northeastern's capacity to attract outstanding faculty members.

The Snell family also set the stage for the transformation of the Northeastern campus, through two cornerstones — Snell Engineering Center and the adjacent Snell Library — that bear the family's name. In the late 1980s, the library was the first in a series of building projects that changed the face of Northeastern, beautifying the campus and expanding it westward.

"George was devoted to Northeastern for many years and believed strongly in the cooperative education model. He credited his success in part to the excellent education and work ethic he received at the university," says Lorraine Snell.

The family's proud legacy at Northeastern continues today. The couple's daughter Lynda Vickers-Smith — the current president of the Snell Construction Corporation — serves as a member of the Northeastern Corporation.


Snell Library
Snell Legacy that Built Library Continues Today
College of Engineering
Undergraduate Financial Aid
Physical Campus
Snell Library
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  This article appeared in the November 2003 issue of The Leadership Campaign Update.          

Copyright 2006 Northeastern University. All rights reserved.