February 13, 2018

Celebrating Snyder and ‘opportunity for all’

Building dedication festivities draw hundreds of alumni to campus
by Tracy Sweet

Andover track legend Steve Snyder ’56, P’83 beamed with pride while touring the building that bears his name Friday evening. It was the first of many emotional touch points for the Snyder family and hundreds of other alumni, parents, former coaches and colleagues, who returned to campus to experience the Snyder Center themselves.

Dedication weekend included student-led tours, alumni squash matches, Drumline and Blue Key enthusiasm, track vs. Exeter, squash vs Brooks, and dinner for the lead donors who made the building possible. The Title IX Studio, Class of 1992 Studio and Carter Lobby served as welcoming reception and social spaces, each overlooking snow-dusted Phelps Stadium as a perfect winter backdrop.  

Big Blue Spirit

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I am in the Snyder Center every day, and I can absolutely testify that this building is a game-changer.

John Palfrey P’21, Head of School

During a dinner honoring donors, Snyder recalled his first competitive sprint. A tentative ninth-grader still unsure of his Andover path, he was challenged to a race by his Rockwell Hall proctor, a senior and captain of the track team. To everyone’s amazement, Steve won! At that moment, he decided to join the track team under the guidance of Coach Steve Sorota. The rest is history, now captured on the walls of the Snyder Center mezzanine—along with the milestones of athletes in track and squash through the decades.

Dinner in the Title IX room held symbolic meaning in a facility that serves boys’ and girls’ teams equally and represents more than just competitive athletics. “Opportunity for all” was a familiar refrain throughout the weekend. In just five weeks since the facility opened, students have found new study spaces in lounges and nooks; classrooms and studios are available for a variety of health and wellness activities; and a group of faculty and staff recreational runners is using the track to train for a half-marathon this spring.

“I am in the Snyder Center every day, and I can absolutely testify that this building is a game-changer,” said Head of School John Palfrey P’21, thanking every donor and member of the school’s planning groups who shared a vision for a facility that builds community and invites all to participate.

During a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Saturday afternoon, Snyder received a life-long pass from Trustee President Peter Currie ’74, P’03, who presented a key carved by Adam Simha ’84 and engraved with the school seal. The key was revealed in box hand-crafted by Strother Purdy ’85 with wood from beech trees that once stood on the site. Wood from those trees was also reengineered to craft the center’s many corridor and lobby benches, Currie noted. “This key symbolizes that you and your wonderful family will forever be a vital part of the Snyder Center and Phillips Academy.”

Steve Snyder ’56 (left) receives the key to the building from Peter Currie ’74
Categories: Athletics

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