Appointed by President Julie Sullivan Tuesday, the Rev. Larry Snyder will fill the position of vice president for mission at St. Thomas beginning Feb. 1, 2015.
A 1987 St. Thomas graduate and current director of Catholic Charities USA for 23 years, Snyder will return to St. Paul from Washington, D.C. to work in the St. Thomas community. His role as vice president for mission will be to keep St. Thomas activities and projects focused on the university’s mission.
Vice President of University Relations Doug Hennes said he thinks Snyder is a valuable addition to St. Thomas.
“I think he’ll bring a real sense of energy,” Hennes said. “He’ll bring new ideas, and he’ll come to the position with a lot of familiarity with St. Thomas.”
For Snyder, however, coming back to St. Thomas is more than just another job.
“I’m actually very excited about it,” Snyder said. “I’ve got very good friends there. It’s my home archdiocese. What really interests me and makes the position very compelling is the fact that it has to do with mission and with Catholic identity.”
After spending 14 years with Catholic Charities in the Twin Cities and nine years at the national office, Snyder has a nationwide network that he believes will be useful for St. Thomas.
“When you look at the mission of the university and the mission of Catholic Charities, they really overlap,” Snyder said. “They are both organizations that are striving to build up the common good by enabling individuals to have the skills and opportunities that they need to make their dreams come true.”
Hennes said he believes Snyder’s connections will be an asset to St. Thomas.
“He has a lot of strong relationships and networks out in the community,” Hennes said. “I think he can take advantage of those and identify priorities for the Office of Mission and projects or opportunities that the Office of Mission might collaborate on with organizations like Catholic Charity.”
Snyder said he anticipates some challenges, namely getting used to the Minnesota winter. But he said his first step is simply going to be getting to know the university again.
“(St. Thomas) has changed a lot in the past 10 years,” Snyder said. “It’s grown tremendously, and it’s become a great university with a lot of stature. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the university, especially my colleagues there, and to be in an academic atmosphere again. Young people have such great energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity.”
Since the Rev. John Malone’s retirement from the position in May, communication and journalism professor Mark Neuzil has been serving as interim vice president and will continue to do so until Snyder fills the position.
“In a real sense, it will be like coming home,” Snyder said. “I’ve been away now for 10 years at the national office of Catholic Charities in Washington D.C., and I have to say that I think my heart has always been back in the Twin Cities.”
Simeon Lancaster can be reached at email@example.com.