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Two Widener Employees Honored with 2018 Eckard Award

Wollman, Eckard Award, Widener employees, Widener, Karen Snyder, William Swanson, Glenn Eckard, William Eckard

William Swanson and Karen Snyder were awarded the William David Eckard Jr. Award.

Chester, Pa. – William Swanson, a carpenter, and Karen Snyder, director of Benefits, Compensation and Human Resources Information Systems, have been awarded the William David Eckard Jr. Award for Distinguished Service in recognition of their hard work and longtime commitment to Widener University.

Swanson lives in Chester, and Snyder lives in Downingtown.

The Eckard Award was established by William David Eckard III, longtime vice president of administration and finance at Widener University and a 1966 graduate of Pennsylvania Military College. He and his family created the award, a $3,000 cash grant, in memory of his father to help promote and reward excellence at Widener. Recipients must work for Widener on a full-time basis for at least 10 years and consistently demonstrate an outstanding level of service.

Both William David Eckard III and his son, Widener Trustee and Alumni Association President Glenn Eckard, presented the award to Swanson and Snyder on May 7.

Swanson has worked at Widener for 36 years. He started in grounds maintenance, before moving to the carpentry shop. His cheerful disposition and positive attitude are his trademark.

"His positive attitude and willingness to help others have made him a joy to work with over the three decades he has been here, and make him a perfect choice for the Eckard Award," said President Julie E. Wollman.

Swanson and his wife, Tracey, who also is a Widener employee, have a son and a daughter, who graduated from Widener. The eldest of their eight grandchildren currently is a member of Widener's ROTC and is a junior in the School of Engineering.

"Widener is a fantastic place to work," Swanson said. "I love all the people, and everyone has been so great to me."

Swanson plans to donate a portion of the award money to Widener and then save the remaining for his upcoming retirement. In retirement, he will continue fishing and playing softball on a travel team.

Snyder started at Widener in 2002 as assistant director of human resources. She now directs Benefits, Compensation and Human Resources Information Systems.

She is known for providing exceptional service to employees across all three campuses and is truly an expert in benefits, compensation and human resources management systems."

After 16 years of working at Widener, she has an incredible depth of institutional system and subject matter knowledge," Wollman said. "She invests time to figure out innovative ways to meet each individual's specific needs while balancing the university's interests."

Snyder was surprised to receive the award. "I became emotional, because I thought of all the terrific people at Widener who also deserve it," she said.

Snyder plans to donate a portion of the award money to Widener and use the rest when she takes her three children to the Grand Canyon for a summer vacation.

Snyder has raised twin girls, Breezy and Brenna, who graduated from college last year, and a son, Andrew, who earned his Bachelors and Master of Education from Widener.

See more photos of the award recipients on Flickr.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,