John Schneider knows about the importance of giving back to organizations that positively impact the lives of others. After earning an undergraduate degree from Ohio State in 1960 and working in technical sales, Schneider enrolled in graduate school at Harvard where he met a roommate named David Reese.

Schneider and Reese became fast friends as they shared a number of similarities:

  • Both had undergraduate degrees from universities in Ohio (Reese graduated from Denison)
  • Both had spent five years gaining professional experience (Reese served in the U.S. Navy)
  • And both had a connection to Ohio State—Reese was the son of Everett D. Reese, a legendary banker, philanthropist and a founding member of the President’s Club at Ohio State.

“I saw the impact that Everett Reese’s generosity was having at Ohio State and the way it inspired others to give back,” Schneider said. “I joined the President’s Club right out of Harvard and have proudly been a lifetime member ever since.”

Another leader with ties to Ohio State who had a significant impact on Schneider’s career was Robin A. Bell. Bell, an Ohio State alumnus, former football player and longtime university supporter, recommended Schneider for his first job with Janitrol Aerospace. He also served as a key reference for Schneider’s admittance to Harvard Business School and inspired Schneider to stay engaged at Ohio State.

“I was fortunate to have Robin as a personal friend and mentor,” Schneider said. “His influence and guidance provided valuable direction to my professional career, for which I was very grateful.”

After graduate school, Schneider went to work on Wall Street before discovering his true passion: real estate.

“I didn’t relate particularly well to paper assets like the stock market,” he said. “I wanted to build things. I was able to get some background early on in my post-graduate career and decided to go on my own.”

John Schneider ('60) and his wife, Nancy

John Schneider ('60) and his wife, Nancy.

Schneider became chairman and CEO of Southwest Realty Trust, a real estate company he co-founded that would eventually own about 25,000 apartments throughout Texas and earn a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. One merger and 85,000 apartment units later, Schneider retired as co-chairman, president and chief operating officer of United Dominion Realty Trust.

Despite successful careers that have taken them from the east coast to Texas and now to Colorado, Schneider and Nancy, his wife of 47 years and a renowned geneticist and pathologist, have remained connected to their roots. The couple return to central Ohio regularly to attend Ohio State football games and reconnect with friends from Nancy’s alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan.

Here at Ohio State, the Schneiders are members of the Neil Legacy Society, the Buckeye Club and sustaining members of The Ohio State University Alumni Association.

Together, the couple has established a charitable remainder trust that will benefit their undergraduate and graduate alma maters—Ohio State, Harvard, Ohio Wesleyan and Cornell.

But John and Nancy have taken their dedication to Ohio State a step further. The pair is creating an estate bequest that will benefit countless students at Fisher. The unique arrangement is just one way Ohio State alumni can give back and pay forward.

“Nancy and I have no children, but we have a desire to help others,” John said. “When we thought about it, giving back to the education of others really made sense. It’s more and more difficult to get a great education, and this is our way of doing what we can to improve the lives and opportunities of others.

“We couldn’t be happier to be making this commitment and hope it will inspire others to find ways to give back.”

Giving back to Ohio State

Giving back to Ohio State In establishing a charitable remainder trust and an estate bequest, John and Nancy Schneider demonstrated the many unique ways to fulfill your personal and charitable interests at Fisher and Ohio State. We look forward to learning more about how Ohio State has made a difference in your life and working with you to develop distinct and meaningful avenues of philanthropic support at Fisher.

To learn more, contact a member of Fisher’s Advancement team: Office of Advancement