Dr. Roger E. Schneider plans to step down from his post as chairman of the board of Harford County-based University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health effective June 30, the health system announced Wednesday.
Schneider, a vascular surgeon, also will relinquish a seat on the board of University of Maryland Medical System, which is Upper Chesapeake Health's parent organization, according to the announcement.
Schneider has chaired the Upper Chesapeake Board for 24 years, a period that included the planning and construction, and later expansion of the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center campus in Bel Air, as well as the organization's current planning and implementation of its Vision 2020 plan encompassing health care facilities in the Havre de Grace area.
Upper Chesapeake Health operates Harford County's two general hospitals in Bel Air and Havre de Grace and a number of related facilities in Harford and Cecil counties. According to the organization's website, it has more than 3,500 employees, including 650 medical staff, making the nonprofit Harford County's second largest private employer.
Schneider has been a prodigious fundraiser for Upper Chesapeake Health and was one of the originators of the organization's annual Star Night Gala, which has raised millions for the organization. He has also received credit from people close to the organization for his efforts in recruiting several prominent Harford County families for their financial support.
His efforts on behalf of Upper Chesapeake and the Bel Air medical campus have been voluntary and have taken place while he managed a respected surgical practice, Vascular Surgery Associates, which Schneider founded in 1987 and which operates from eight locations in the Baltimore region.
"The reason I went into medicine is because of my grandfather," Schneider said in a 2003 interview with The Aegis. "He was the oldest of eight children. His father died when he was 17 and he went out to support his mother and his brothers and sisters. He had three jobs. He sold apples on the streets of New York. He worked at a shoe company and he sold pencils."
"He sent all his brothers and sisters through college. He never graduated from college himself," Schneider recalled. "His oldest friend from childhood told him he wanted to go to medical school and couldn't afford it. My grandfather paid his way."
"When my grandfather's first and only grandson was born, my grandfather said, 'I want him to be a doctor like my best friend.' There was never any overt pressure for me to go to medical school it was a foregone conclusion, an assumption I grew up with," Schneider said.
Schneider attended Hamilton College in upstate New York, where he was on the wrestling and tennis teams, and head of the school honor society. He went on to medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Schneider was traveling on personal business and could not be reached for comment Thursday.
"Dr. Roger Schneider's contributions across more than two decades to Upper Chesapeake Health and to the University of Maryland Medical System warrant our lasting gratitude," Upper Chesapeake President and CEO Lyle E. Sheldon said in a statement. "It is no exaggeration to say that the magnificent hospital we have in Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, which he helped bring into being, would not have been possible without his guiding hand and boundless energy."
"Similarly, the impressive resource that is the Patricia D. and M. Scott Kaufman Cancer Center exists today because of his vision for what the community needed and his dedication to finding the resources to make it happen," continued Sheldon, whose tenure as Upper Chesapeake CEO has coincided with Schneider's board chairmanship. "He played a lead role in establishing our affiliation with the University of Maryland Medical System, and he has been a champion of our Vision 2020 planning that will bring a new medical campus to Havre de Grace, including the comprehensive behavioral health resources so needed in our regional community."
To honor his service to the board of UM Upper Chesapeake Health, which he has led since 1995, the board voted unanimously during its April 3 meeting to name him Emeritus Chair, according to Wednesday's announcement.
Schneider will continue his practice in vascular surgery, as well as serving as associate clinical professor of vascular surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, according to the announcement.
"Through the leadership, energy and vision of people such as Dr. Roger Schneider, our healthcare system is able to put greater care within reach of everyone in Maryland," Robert A. Chrencik, president and chief executive officer of the University of Maryland Medical System, said in a statement.