Jerome “Jerry” Schnydman, longtime friend, BSA parent and grandparent, and current Board Trustee, passed away early Monday after a long and challenging battle with cancer. Jerry was 77.
Jerome’s relationship with the Baltimore School for the Arts began in 1984 when his daughter Becky was accepted to the school’s freshman class. As a man who believed in high academic standards, and because BSA was so new, Jerome met with the school’s leadership to hear about programming before agreeing to send his determined daughter to the school. He was quickly convinced of the school’s solid credentials and became a fan and staunch supporter from then on. Following his retirement from his position as Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Johns Hopkins University, Jerome was invited to join the Board of Trustees at BSA where he chaired a number of committees including the Search Committee for the new Dance Department Head in 2018. He remained an active member of the board until the fall of 2021 when his health declined.
“Jerry and his family have been an extraordinary part of BSA family for more than 30 years – starting with his daughter Becky (BSA class of ’88, theater), grand-daughter Tucker (BSA class of ‘2022, Stage Production) and continuing to Jerry’s invaluable contribution and wisdom serving on the BSA board for the last 7 years,” BSA Board Chair Li-Wen Kang said. “We will miss him.”
Joan Royals, another board member who partnered with Jerry for the last seven years on the Board’s Nominating Committee: “There was never a board meeting, committee meeting or BSA event that I didn’t seek Jerry out to get a hug, a laugh and a seat next to my committee co-chair and mentor. I was thrilled and relieved when Jerry was asked to co-chair the nominating committee with me several years ago. The man was a legend at Hopkins and I looked forward to learning the ropes from one of the best. Jerry came prepared to every meeting with a good joke or two and a get down to business attitude. I’d like to think that he learned a few things from me as well. Jerry always saved me a seat so I could double check to make sure his ringer was turned off on his phone so as to not disrupt the meeting. I could Listen to Jerry talk for hours about his early days at Hopkins as a student and lacrosse player. Jerry was the consummate storyteller and he did it with subtle humor and eloquence. He made me laugh and taught me patience under pressure. He was passionate and proud of his wife, children and grandchildren. My heart goes out to Tammy, Becky and her family. I’m fortunate and grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time and work with Jerry. He reminded me of my dad in how he treated me as his sidekick and deferred to me to present during meetings, giving me the confidence only a dad knows how to give. He will hold a special place in my heart and a vacancy in the chair next to mine. Love, love, love you Jerry Schnydman!”
Dr. Chris Ford, former BSA Director wrote: “Jerome Schnydman was a kind, thoughtful and insightful man. He led the search for a new BSA dance head and succeeded in bringing a great leader (& alum) from Germany to Baltimore (Laura Halm). As a BSA Board member and father to Becky Mossing, he was just the best! You may not know it, but he was a first team, All-American lacrosse player at Hopkins in his younger days. I don’t know if he was the shortest All-American ever, but it must have been close!”
Ford added: “He was also always ready to lend a hand, whether he knew the person or not. BSA was hosting a Telluride Film festival showing and one of the film subjects, Gregory Crichlow (Chocolate Spokes), was a lacrosse fan. Thinking the JHU Lacrosse Hall of Fame was nearby, I called Jerome to ask if he could show Gregory around. Well, it’s no longer close by and the weekend happened to be one of Jerome’s busiest of the whole year. Nevertheless, Jerome was quick to get to BSA & pick Gregory up. They went to the hall in Sparks and the field house at JHU where Jerome was received like the hero he was. Because of Jerome’s thoughtfulness, Gregory went home with multiple players’ jerseys for his son and an unforgettable day. That’s just the sort of man Jerome was. Highly accomplished, profoundly generous and always helping others. We will miss him dearly.”
“Jerry was a person who deeply cared about our school. He was a voice, a beacon, and an ambassador for arts education because he wholeheartedly knew what it does for the children – it changes their lives forever. He was closely involved in his tireless charity work on behalf of the students, teachers, and the entire BSA community he so cherished and loved. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” said Principal Rosiland Cauthen. “Joy is the word that comes to mind when I think of Jerry. He always greeted you with a smile, laugh or funny story. His very presence exuded a sense of warmth and welcome. His joyful laughter will be greatly missed, but his work continues on. Students today and beyond will benefit from his tireless work on behalf of the school. His legacy continues on through his daughter, Alum and Director of TWIGS, Becky Mossing ‘88, and his granddaughter Tucker Mossing ‘22.”
You can find information about the funeral service and shiva on his obituary.