When he graduated from Atholton High School in 1982, Dan Schrider said he was an “uninspired” but sociable and athletic teenager with no clear goals. Today, the president and CEO of Sandy Spring Bank credits Howard Community College (HCC) for setting him on a path to success.
“I kind of checked the boxes going through the high school years, but HCC really put me in a position to expand my academic success by interacting with professors in small class settings,” he said. “It really gave me a hunger to learn and to become more through education.”
Along with small classes, Schrider said he valued HCC’s faculty support and the close personal relationships he developed with other students.
“There were a couple of classes I took at HCC that stood out,” Schrider said. “One was Introduction to Business, which kind of whet my appetite for all things business. The other one was a public speaking class, which was intimidating but insightful and meaningful.”
While at HCC, Schrider met his future wife, Dédi. He also befriended two students who “opened my eyes a little bit more than they had been,” he said.
“One was an immigrant from Haiti, who was excited to be in the United States for the first time,” Schrider said. “The other was an Army veteran and paraplegic who was starting all over after suffering a terrible accident. It really spoke to the diversity of the community college and the way in which it serves the needs of many people but in different ways.”
After graduating from HCC, Schrider transferred to the University of Maryland for a bachelor’s degree in marketing and to Mount St. Mary’s University for an MBA. He also graduated from the American Bankers Association (ABA) Stonier Graduate School of Banking and ABA’s Graduate School of Commercial Lending. He began a career in retail banking and joined Sandy Spring Bank in 1989 as a commercial lender.
In 2012, HCC named Schrider a Distinguished Alumnus. A leader among community bankers, Schrider is a past director of the American Bankers Association, a past chairman of the Maryland Bankers Association, and a past chair of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking Advisory Board. He also serves as the President of the Sandy Spring Bank Foundation.
Schrider’s connection to HCC only grew when his daughter enrolled.
“Her experience all these years later was similar to mine. She loved being part of the great campus environment and developed wonderful friendships with students and bonds with teachers,” he said.
In 2013, Schrider delivered HCC’s commencement address, something he laughingly says he never imagined he’d be asked to do, “but I guess I’m a good example of the college motto ‘you can get there from here.’”
And what advice does this alumnus, who has steadfastly worked his way up the ladder of his profession, have for students graduating from the community college where he got his start? “Think carefully about your next step. The choices we make say a lot about who we are. What really counts is what we decide to do with the benefit of the education we received, how we take that investment and make the difference in our community, our work, and our personal lives.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.