President Snyder expresses gratitude for CWRU community, bids farewell; video reflects on her tenure

headshot of CWRU President Barbara R. Snyder

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

As my tenure as president of Case Western Reserve University comes to an end, I wanted to express again my profound gratitude to our trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni for 13 remarkable years. It has been a privilege to be a part of this extraordinary campus community, and I leave with tremendous confidence in its future because the university is in your hands.

Tomorrow, the brilliant leader Scott Cowen becomes your interim president, and Case Western Reserve could not be in more capable hands. Widely known as one of the best university presidents in the nation, he brings a wealth of experience from leading Tulane through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He will work with our outstanding Provost Ben Vinson III, our exceptional leadership team and, most importantly, all of you in continuing the university’s momentum.

In one of my earliest speeches as president, I said of Case Western Reserve, “we change lives here, by what we teach and what we learn.” What I did not realize then was how much this community would teach me—about potential, persistence and partnership. 

Potential

In 2014, we dedicated the Tinkham Veale University Center, a moment in the making for decades. Everyone had agreed the campus needed a major new gathering place, and some had even contributed to the cause. But after so many years, some wanted to pull back those gifts. 

Enter Tinkham Veale, a 1937 graduate forever grateful for the scholarship that allowed him to leave Kansas oil fields and earn his degree. Despite multiple earlier gifts, he agreed to make his largest-ever commitment—$20 million—because of the possibilities he saw for a large new gathering place.

“You’re going to help everybody,” he said when we announced his gift. “It doesn’t matter if they’re doctors or lawyers, dentists or engineers. They’ll all get together and get to know each other.”

And they have. The Tink opened as undergraduate enrollment grew to 4,500 and, with it, the academic quality and diversity of incoming classes. The 82,000-square-foot space provided new homes for student organizations, venues for events and a food court that, until the pandemic, welcomed hundreds of students, faculty and staff every day.

Persistence

Next year, we expect to complete the Maltz Performing Arts Center, a project whose roots date back to a 2008 tour of a nearby synagogue. When it opened in 1924, the Temple Tifereth-Israel had been hailed as an architectural masterpiece; while the congregation’s primary home had moved to the suburbs, the historic space still held great significance for its members, as well as the broader Cleveland community. Would we consider it for our exceptional—and then, exceptionally crowded—performing arts programs?

With the tremendous vision and generosity of Milton and Tamar Maltz, their family and many other donors, we completed the project’s first phase seven years later. It took another four to be able to start the second and final phase, but from there generations of students and faculty—and audiences—will be inspired by new theaters, rehearsal space, and state-of-the-art technologies.

Partnership

Last night, Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic hosted the first presidential debate of 2020. The historic opportunity only arose because in 2013 our two organizations recognized that we each could achieve so much more together than alone.

The Health Education Campus (HEC) exists to give students the knowledge and understanding to lead in an era of team-based care. It is designed to encourage interaction in and out of class, and we have added programming to extend students’ collaborations into the Cleveland community. 

Since late July, our role as co-hosts translated to dozens upon dozens of media mentions around the world. It led to multiple meaningful forums regarding such topics as medical research, 21st-century democracy and the future of health care. And it engaged our students in activism and the electoral process.

The HEC opened barely a year-and-a-half ago. We can only imagine what new developments might follow.

I look forward to seeing all that comes next for Case Western Reserve under Scott’s leadership. 

I hope you will join me in giving him and the university’s next president our enthusiastic support.

Please know that I will always keep Case Western Reserve in my heart, and I will watch with pride as all of you take the university to new heights.

Thank you again,

Barbara R. Snyder
President