Today is a sad day for fans of capitalism and Philadelphia sports alike. Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and sports industry legend Ed Snider passed away over the weekend following a two year battle with cancer. Snider was the co-founder and owner of the Philadelphia Flyers and the lead developer of their stadiums—the Spectrum, in the 1960s, and the Wells Fargo Center in the 1990s.
Starting with a degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, Snider went on to build a business empire of sports-related enterprises: professional hockey, facilities management, food services, marketing and sponsorship, and ticket-selling. Snider was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988 and over the years received numerous honors for his philanthropy and business success.
In 2014, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business announced the second largest gift in its history, $5 million, to launch and endow the new Ed Snider Center for Enterprise & Markets. As part of that announcement, Snider described his plans for the Center:
My entrepreneurial nature, coupled with the accounting degree I earned at Maryland, enabled me to take advantage of life’s opportunities. My vision for today’s college students is that they are armed with those skills, motivations and freedoms that I was and that enabled me to create value and opportunity for others through my various business endeavors.
Growing up in Washington, D.C., I watched my father run a corner grocery store. He taught me to strive to be the best no matter what job I did, even if it was mopping floors. My career was not the result of a long-term plan. I just applied myself when opportunity knocked, and I innovated as I went along. Being free to follow your dreams, work hard and be rewarded for your labors is what life is all about.
Since its inception, the Snider Center has been led by economist Rajshree Agarwal, the Smith School’s Rudolph P. Lamone Chair and Professor in Entrepreneurship. Her personal and professional interests were an obvious match for Snider’s principles, as displayed last September during the University’s BB&T Colloquium on Capitalism, Ethics, and Leadership, at which Snider and Agarwal talked through the values and experiences that had helped build such a successful career.
Snider’s legacy is firmly in place among his employees, Flyers’ fans, charitable grantees, and, of course, his friends and family. The Snider Center at the University of Maryland is well-positioned to continue and expand its work, and the Snider family’s philanthropic endeavors will continue through the Snider Foundation and the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.