Lloyd Snelson, PhD, '57 (Physical Education), MA '67 (Education)

Snelson's goal: Helping student-athletes graduate

Dr. Lloyd Snelson

Lloyd Snelson, who earned the moniker "Mr. Hornet" due to his passion for Sacramento State athletics, passed away on Sunday, June 23, 2013.

In a statement from Hornet Athletics: "Lloyd was a great friend and will be greatly missed," Sacramento State Director of Athletics Terry Wanless said. "He had a long history and helped immeasurably to make Hornet athletics a special place for our student-athletes and the community." Snelson was 78 and his relationship with Sacramento State spanned nearly 59 years.

“Mr. Hornet” doesn’t take his unofficial title lightly. Call Dr. Lloyd Snelson’s phone and the introduction to his voicemail announces: “You’ve reached Lloyd The Hornet.”

There may not be anyone prouder to wear green and gold than Snelson. And he’s got the credentials to match the nickname. As a student, Snelson was a part of history, kicking the decisive extra point in Sac State’s first victory on the football field—a 7-6 win over Southern Oregon in 1955.

A longtime supporter of his beloved Hornets, Snelson’s latest contribution is aimed at helping students who have exhausted their athletic eligibility finish their degrees. The Lloyd Snelson Scholarship Endowment is designated for football student-athletes.

“The goal is for our student-athletes to get their degrees and go on to be contributing members of society and this scholarship is designed to help them achieve that,” Sac State athletic director Terry Wanless says. “Lloyd has been a longtime supporter of our program and he’s been a good friend over the 10 years I’ve been here. I truly appreciate his commitment to the program and we’ve always appreciated his support.”

The majority of Snelson’s life has been devoted to education. After serving in the military for two years Snelson was an elementary school teacher in Elk Grove starting in 1960. He went on to teach physical education at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento before moving to the administrative side. He was principal at La Sierra, Rio Americano and Bella Vista high schools before retiring in 1993. At that point he returned his main focus to Sac State, becoming the president of the Stinger Club in 1995.

Snelson’s enthusiasm is infectious. He’s a faithful follower of the football team, attending games and even occasionally sitting in on practices. Snelson graduated from Corning High School and attended Shasta Community College before transferring to Sac State in 1954, joining 66 other players on the inaugural Sac State football team.

Snelson’s fellow alums admire his passion for the Hornets and his willingness to pitch in.

“I hold him in high respect,” says Bill Collard, ’57 (Business Administration), a retired Sacramento attorney. “Lloyd has been very active at Sac State over a fairly long period of time. He’s a good guy and he’s made a great commitment to the college.”

Wanless hopes Snelson’s involvement with his alma mater will inspire other former Hornets to do what they can to make a difference in the lives of students.

“It’s critically important for us to grow our relationships with alumni,” Wanless says. “Lloyd is really a pioneer. He came forward, saw the vision for the scholarship and he was in a position to help. Hopefully other people see Lloyd’s name and ask the question, ‘How can I help?’”

Published in the Fall 2012 edition of the Sac State Torchlight