Sheri & Val Schnabl Pay it Forward with MBA Scholarship Fund

Longtime Playa del Rey residents Sheri and Val Schnabl MBA ’77 have been huge supporters of LMU over the years, attending university athletic events, alumni reunions and building dedications. Val even represented his undergraduate alma mater, Marquette University, at President Snyder’s Inauguration. However, the Schnabl’s biggest contribution to LMU has been their recent bequest commitment for supporting MBA students after their passing. This planned gift will endow full-tuition scholarships for future MBA students in perpetuity. Since they would also like to do something now to help our students, they have created a current use scholarship in their name for MBA students. Val and Sheri are no strangers to giving back. They set up a scholarship fund at Marquette for engineering students and have been giving to the LMU MBA program for many years. This fall, their first annual LMU MBA scholarship was awarded to Isaac Gremmer.

“The scholarship has made it possible for me to attend a great school, LMU, and pursue my dreams of both pursuing a rewarding and interesting career and in better enabling me to contribute to social entrepreneurship opportunities, which I am very passionate about. I am very grateful for the scholarship this year, and I know that students in the future will feel the same.” expressed Gremmer.

As a young boy growing up in Wisconsin, Val attended Catholic school and discovered a lifelong passion for building things. During his senior year of high school, he entered his invention (an object identifier machine called the VIPTRON) in the Wisconsin State Science Fair, where he won first place and a full-tuition scholarship to Marquette University.

After Val graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette, he moved to Los Angeles in 1967 to join Hughes Aircraft Company where he spent the next 33 years of his career. Hughes not only offered him a full-time job but also a fellowship that he used at USC to earn his master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Several years later, he had the itch to go back to school. This time he set his sights on an MBA. Val first enrolled at UCLA for a couple years at night, but he was required to finish with their day classes. That was not an option for him. He tried transferring to USC but was told he would have to repeat certain courses. LMU had just launched its own MBA program and he was happy to discover that they would accept his UCLA coursework and offer night classes. He enrolled at LMU for his last two years under the Hughes Educational Reimbursement Program.

“I wanted to get an MBA for my own personal edification,” said Val, who was a member of the second graduating MBA class. “I had an excellent experience at LMU. It was easy to get to know my fellow students and I had many great classes that were a lot of fun. I loved the location, the teachers and the personal attention.” Val says having an MBA has been beneficial in his career at Hughes. It has also helped him manage his personal investments.

Val and Sheri, also a former Hughes employee, wanted their legacy to be in the form of scholarships to help students who are less fortunate. “Because I was given a free ride to Marquette, USC and LMU, I felt it was my duty to pay it forward,” said Val. “There are fewer companies today who pay for their employees to go back to school. We always felt our gifts would make a big impact and give deserving students some of the same opportunities we had.”