Foundation Board Chair 1993-1996
Marlon Snow initially got involved with Utah Valley University back when it was known as "The Tech" and operated in a single building in Provo. Snow was in the bishopric at a Brigham Young University ward when Elder Rolfe Kerr asked him to create the first ward at The Tech. Kerr told him that with his cowboy boots and four-wheel drive, he’d relate to the students. “I honestly did,” said Snow. “I fell in love with the college, and it’s warmed my heart to see all the progress we’ve made.”
As chair of the Foundation Board from 1993 to 1996, when UVU was Utah Valley State College, Snow played a key role in initiating the first four-year degree programs. The majority of Utah Valley’s students who apply to BYU are not accepted, and Snow and many others felt the valley needed a good college for the rest of its students. They fought to make UVSC that college.
“Every one of us talked about how we’ve got a responsibility to try and fill this void, because parents can’t make enough to send all their kids away to college somewhere,” said Snow. Students could attend the UVSC from home and not have to pay for housing, said Snow, which is one of the reasons the school has chosen not to build any student housing. “We let the business people do that,” he said. “We weren’t going to spend the money on it.”
Back in the nineties, UVSC struggled to get funding from the state legislature. Snow knew the legislature would never approve four-year degrees if the school requested funding for them, so he encouraged President Kerry D. Romesburg to ask that the degrees be appointed without funding. They were, and Snow worked with the rest of the Foundation Board to raise money for those degrees. The owner of MST Trucking Inc., Snow had many business connections in the community, and he tirelessly promoted the college to them and revved their interest in its success. This helped net crucial gifts and established important friends who still support the University today.
Snow says that the lack of state funding for four-year degrees is one of the reasons UVU lagged behind other Utah schools in per-capita funding until recently. “But on the other hand, we would never be a university today had we not gotten those four-year degrees back then,” he said. He also feels strongly that the University never abandon the trades and that it continue to offer two-year degrees.
Snow served on the committee that hired President Matthew S. Holland in 2009. His hope was that a president coming from BYU would help bring the universities' communities together. He beams when he talks about President Holland: “He’s just brought us all together. I told him this community cannot lose you; we cannot have you leave.”
After chairing the Foundation Board, Snow went on to chair the UVU Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Utah System of Higher Education Board of Regents and has chaired the State Board of Education. In 1998 he was appointed by former Governor Mike Leavitt to fill a vacant seat in the Utah House of Representatives.
In 1996 UVU conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Snow in recognition of all he had done for the school. Snow is grateful for the award but says he didn’t do any of it for the accolades. He prefers to work behind the scenes, he says, “without a lot of hype and glory.”
Snow loves to point out that there are now more students transferring from BYU to UVU than vice versa. “They come to UVU for the smaller class sizes, and they love the faculty and staff,” he said. Two of Snow’s daughters attended UVU, and Snow hopes all ten of his grandchildren will consider it.
“We had to work very hard raising funds and meeting with business people, encouraging them to come down and see the campus and what we were doing,” said Snow. “But it’s been enjoyable and delightful to be involved with UVU.”