What does Ohio State mean to Thom Sneed?

What does Ohio State mean to Thom Sneed?

For Thom Sneed, attending Ohio State was a great privilege. So much so that it felt surreal to wake up an Ohio State student. “It took a while for the reality of it all to set in,” he says.

Born and raised in Ohio, Thom heard about Ohio State from the time he was a kid. In 1981, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and today, at age 53, he is vice president and chief information officer for Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston, Texas.

“Some of the best times of my life were days I spent at Ohio State,” says Thom. When he gets together with lifelong friends he made at Ohio State, he is amazed that they remember specific games of Risk they stayed up all night playing--“games we played 30 years ago,” recalls Thom. “Thirty years ago!”

Thom’s fondest recollection of his time at Ohio State is walking across the Oval with his high school sweetheart Phyllis, who would later become his wife. All these years later, when Thom sits by Mirror Lake as they used to, he feels the way he did then.

When Thom and Phyllis became empty nesters after raising two kids, they discussed what to do next. Phyllis insisted on one condition: “Whatever we do, we have to make a difference.” They agreed that setting up a scholarship fund was an investment that would pay dividends for years to come, in the form of lives changed by education.

Thom’s memories of the life he built with Phyllis before, at, and after Ohio State are both happy and nostalgic. He catches himself using the term “we” and apologizes. Phyllis has not been gone for long, and his life remains a life of “we.”

Thom knows those who benefit from the Sneed Family Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment will be here long after he is gone, and he looks forward to letters from future recipients. That is the only thing Thom and Phyllis decided to require of students awarded their scholarship: that they write to them and share their goals and dreams--dreams Thom hopes he and Phyllis will help come true.

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