When Carolyn Sneed and her late husband, Dr. Bob Sneed, were choosing a place to start Bob’s ophthalmology practice and raise their four children, they had strong ideas about what they were looking for. “We wanted to live in a small town on a big body of clean water, preferably a town with a liberal arts college,” she said. “We found all that in the Chequamegon Bay area.”
Northland College and Lake Superior combined made an attractive package and the region is all the better for it. In 1980, Carolyn became the first woman to serve as a supervisor on the Bayfield County Board. She also co-founded the Big Top Chautauqua and has remained active with the music venue beneath the iconic canvas tent. Their son Scott ’79 attended Northland and credits Chemistry Professor Milt Lorber as an extremely gifted teacher who assisted him on the road to success in his pre-med studies.
In fact, all three sons followed their father’s example, becoming ophthalmologists living in small towns on great lakes: Mark in Washburn; Scott in Traverse City, Michigan; and Peter in Leland, Michigan. Their daughter, Randi, is a nurse, part of a radiosurgery team in Newport News, Virginia.
Bob died twenty years ago, but Carolyn at eighty-eight continues to live in the home they built by the lake. She says she remembers President Bob Parsonage visiting their home years ago and asking her husband Bob what he thought about Northland College striving to be “one of the best environmental colleges in the country.” Bob replied, “No. You should strive to be no less than THE BEST environmental college.”
Carolyn and Bob have been generous donors to Northland and have always planned to leave a portion of their estate to the College. That decision was validated last fall when she read a column in the Ashland Daily Press, written by Trustee Mike Fiorio. In it, he talked about Northland’s decision to divest from fossil fuels and the importance of higher education moving in that direction.
Though Carolyn misses Northland’s beloved Arts & Letters series and regrets the loss of the formal music program, she feels good about the direction of the College and about contributing to its future.
“I am very happy to support Northland’s legacy, to help ensure that the College will continue to enrich our diverse Chequamegon Bay community for future generations,” she said.