headshot of CWRU President Barbara R. Snyder
President Emerita Barbara R. Snyder

CWRU announces $5 million gift for scholarship campaign honoring President Snyder

Fred and Brittan DiSanto’s commitment supports students and recognizes President Snyder’s leadership

Photo of Fred and Brittan DiSanto
Fred and Brittan DiSanto

Case Western Reserve today announced a $5 million gift as the first commitment to a scholarship campaign honoring outgoing President Barbara R. Snyder.

Fred DiSanto, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, and his wife Brittan made the commitment in honor of President Snyder’s 13-year legacy—including her efforts to make a university degree more affordable for lower-income students.

“Barbara has transformed Case Western Reserve from a university best known for its struggles to one now seen as soaring,” Fred DiSanto said. “By contributing to a fund focused on one of her highest priorities, we support future students and show our gratitude for her exceptional leadership.” 

The university’s record-setting Forward Thinking fundraising campaign focused considerable effort on scholarships and fellowships, ultimately raising $253 million for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. In 2014, Snyder personally committed $1 million to the cause.

headshot of CWRU President Barbara R. Snyder

“Our scholarship campaign seeks to transform possibilities into reality for talented students, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances,” she said at the time. “We have made remarkable progress and are grateful to our alumni and friends who have already contributed to the campaign, but we know we must do more to invest in our students and Case Western Reserve’s future.” 

In 2017, the Carnegie Corporation honored Snyder as one of seven exceptional academic leaders nationwide; among the criteria for the award were a commitment to equal opportunity and excellence in undergraduate education. 

Snyder, who became Case Western Reserve’s president in 2007, leaves this fall to lead the Association of American Universities, the organization that represents the country’s leading research universities. Former Tulane University president and longtime Weatherhead School of Management Dean Scott Cowen becomes Case Western Reserve’s interim president Oct. 1; DiSanto is leading the search for the next president.

A Northeast Ohio native, DiSanto is a double alumnus of Case Western Reserve who joined the board in 2012. A four-year, three-sport varsity athlete, he played quarterback for the first Spartans football team ever to go undefeated in the regular season—a feat not repeated until 2007, when Snyder arrived. 

One of the advantages of DiSanto’s decision to attend Case Western Reserve was that his family could see him play. After completing his MBA in 1986, Fred married Brittan Burke, who taught art at an inner-city parochial school for several years. Her experiences gave both of them insights into the profound resource challenges some students face, as well as the potential they can realize with even modest support (in this case, art supplies that the couple provided).

“I know what a difference Case Western Reserve made for Fred and his classmates,” Brittan said. “We both believe that cost should not keep qualified students from experiencing a CWRU education themselves.”

For more information on the scholarship campaign, or to make a commitment in President Snyder’s honor, visit case.edu/give/president.