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April 01, 2008
CONTACT: Ron Podell
rpodell@emich.edu 734.487.4400

Mega Millions winner returning to finish degree at EMU

YPSILANTI —  Many lottery winners who instantly realize outrageous fortunes do one or more of the following: buy fancy homes and extravagant cars or take exotic vacations.

David Sneath is going back to college.

David Sneath
A joyous David Sneath picks up his check for the April 1 MegaMillions lotto. He plans to finish his longstanding dream of earning an EMU degree.

Sneath, who won the $136 million Mega Millions prize April 1, plans to finish the warehousing major/international marketing minor he started at Eastern Michigan University in 1970, but was not quite able to complete in 1973.

Without hesitation, he rattled off the courses he needs — finite math, marketing and either art or music — to complete the eight credits to earn his bachelor’s degree.

“I told people before the lotto that I was coming back (to EMU) in September. Well, the rest is history,” said the Livonia resident who happened to hit it big on his 60th birthday. “Why am I going back now? It’s something I started and wanted to finish.”

He’ll certainly have the time. After winning the lottery, Sneath immediately quit his job as a warehouse driver at a Ford Motor Company parts plant in Brownstown. He plans to get laser eye surgery, and may buy a cottage on Mullet Lake in northern Michigan and a fishing boat or two. He even promised to give four friends $1 million each.

“One of my friends told me to wait until I calm down before I go making promises. But, I’m a man of my word,” Sneath said.

Lottery win or not, Sneath said finishing his degree has always been in the back of his mind.

Work, marriage, a family and even a 1990 auto accident in which his neck was shattered and the doctors said he was lucky to be alive let alone not end up a quadriplegic, are all factors that prevented him from returning earlier to complete his bachelor’s degree, he said. He said he tried to take a class in 1977, but eventually dropped out.

Sneath attended EMU during the Vietnam era, a time when he saw a number of his friends go off to war. Many never returned to have an opportunity at an education and a future.

“I owe that much to them,” he said.

“I spent a lot of my life there,” Sneath said fondly of EMU. “My first wife was from EMU.

My first girlfriend was from EMU. I’m coming back.”

While he’s coming back, Sneath admitted he hadn’t been near or on campus for some time.

“Is the water tower still there?” he asked.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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