Michael Hanni Tribute

Michael Hanni was the coordinator for student conduct at Youngstown State University. Photo Courtesy of Erin Driscoll

By Abigail Cloutier

Michael Hanni, coordinator for student conduct at Youngstown State University, died Feb. 16. According to his obituary and a GoFundMe set up by his sister for funeral expenses, Hanni died of complications related to COVID-19. He was 27. Below are tributes for Hanni from his colleagues at YSU.

Michael Hanni was the coordinator for student conduct at Youngstown State University. Photo Courtesy of Erin Driscoll

 Erin Driscoll, executive director, Division of Student Affairs

This past week, YSU lost a part of our Penguin family. Michael Hanni, Coordinator for Student Conduct and Cafaro House Coordinator, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. 

Michael began his career at Youngstown State in September of 2019. Though officially hired as a Coordinator for Student Conduct, Michael quickly became a part of the fabric of many additional components of student life on our campus. Michael served as advisor for the Residential Housing Association and for Theta Chi Fraternity, as well as the elections board advisor for Student Government Association. In the summer of 2020, Michael took on the additional responsibilities of serving as the Housing Coordinator for Cafaro House, overseeing the operations of the residence hall and supervising Resident Assistants and Desk Attendants in their service and support of Cafaro House residents. 

During his time on campus, Michael built relationships with students and staff throughout our community. He was always up for a conversation, whether about his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, “The Office” or his latest meaningful interaction with a student. He also put his culinary skills to work for the good of the community in his “At Home with Hanni” videos, which will provide us with lasting memories of him for years to come. 

We extend our sincere condolences to Michael’s family, and to all of the students and staff who are experiencing this loss. We will be sending a collection of cards and memories from YSU to Michael’s family. Notecards are available in the Cafaro House lobby for any student who wishes to send a note to Michael’s family. Notecards can also be obtained in the Student Activities & Student Government Suite in Kilcawley Center, or by contacting Justin Shaughnessy or Erin Driscoll.

Erin Hungerman, university conduct officer

My initial memory of Michael stems from his first time on campus. He had just finished the first half of his day-long interview process and sat down to eat lunch with former Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Eddie Howard, and me. I don’t remember what was on the menu, but it prompted a discussion between Michael and Dr. Howard. Prior to receiving his master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Michael completed culinary school. Dr. Howard was impressed by this and said that if “he had it to do over again,” he’d have gone into something culinary-related. Michael laughed and said that was a coincidence, since his dream was to be a Vice President for Student Affairs someday. 

We interviewed two other candidates for the coordinator of Student Conduct position for which Michael was ultimately hired. He was the most professionally inexperienced out of all of them. I remember calling his references and telling them this, seeking some sort of feedback on his potential in the position that would help me with my decision. One of Michael’s former supervisors told me he initially had the same concern when he brought Michael onto his team. He also said that he learned that his passion for students could make up for years that others had working in the field. I am someone who very much believes that you can train any skill set except an element of care. You can’t train someone to view the student experience from a lens of compassion and empathy. I offered Michael the position the next day and with his acceptance, we became a team.

Housing and Residence Life

This past week, YSU Housing & Residence Life lost a part of our Penguin family. Michael Hanni, our Cafaro House Coordinator, passed away unexpectedly, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. In addition to his responsibilities as coordinator for Student Conduct, Michael also served as the advisor for the Residential Housing Association (RHA) and for Theta Chi Fraternity, as well as elections board advisor for Student Government Association.  Michael loved making those around him laugh and his caring nature will truly be missed—especially by his Cafaro House residents, his Resident Assistants and his Desk Manager and Desk Attendants. 

Housing & Residence Life extends our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him. As we grieve together, please know that there are campus resources available to students and staff.  Students seeking support can contact the YSU Counseling Center at (330) 941-3737.  For additional support and services, please contact the office of Student Outreach & Support at (330) 941-4721.