Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.
Don Snyder, the driving force behind the development of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts , was awarded Tuesday with a prestigious award from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Employers Association of Southern Nevada and Nevada Taxpayers Association.
Snyder received the Free Enterprise Award during a chamber luncheon at Aria.
The award recognizes people who help shape the Las Vegas community. Its recipient list reads like a “who’s who of esteemed leaders, pioneers and visionaries,” chamber Chairman Kevin Orrock said. Past winners include James Cashman, II, Irwin Molasky and William Boyd.
Snyder is volunteer chairman of the Smith Center’s board of directors and was integral in securing the $150 million needed to build the cultural center. He retired as president of Boyd Gaming in 2005 and previously served as president and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience and First Interstate Bank of Nevada. In 2010, Snyder was appointed dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
Chamber leaders gave Snyder no forewarning of the honor, which dates back more than 40 years.
“This is a total surprise,” Snyder said. “I do what I do because I love this great city.”