YSU Connections Rekindled

By Ashley Smith

An alumni group based out of Phoenix, Arizona will be meeting with Youngstown State University Board of Trustees members Carole Weimer, Delores Crawford and Ted Roberts this upcoming April at the Sierra Bonita Grill to talk about trusteeship.

The Phoenix Alumni Group is a chapter of YSU alumni in Phoenix, Arizona that began in 2001 from founders Renny Domini, Ed Stizza, Art McGaffic, Andy Conti and Jim Reed.

Elaine Timmins, YSU alumna and Phoenix Alumni Group leader, said that the members would attend a dinner in honor of the National Conference on Trusteeship that will take place at the Arizona Biltmore, a resort in Phoenix.

Mollie Hartup, assistant director of alumni relations at YSU, said that she saw an opportunity for connection between YSU and their alumni through this event.

“The Arizona alumni group typically meets three times a year. When the group learned that members of the YSU Board of Trustees would be in Phoenix this spring, the alumni decided this would be a wonderful reason to get together for an April dinner,” Hartup said. “This will not be the first time that direct collaboration has been made between faculty at YSU and alumni in Phoenix. In January of 2012 YSU’s then president Cynthia Anderson was a special guest at the Arizona Alumni Winter Dinner.”

Timmins said that collaboration concerning the event has been underway since February.

“I was originally approached by Mollie Hartup in the YSU Alumni Office in February about the possibility of our group scheduling our first event of the year on that Monday. I then contacted the members by e-mail to see who was interested in attending the dinner with the trustees,” Timmins said. “The event has been well received and anticipated.”

Hartup said that the event would offer benefits for those in attendance as well as opportunities for future students at YSU.

“Events organized by the Arizona alumni group offer social and networking benefits to those who attend. Gatherings offer opportunities for alumni living in the greater Phoenix area to meet fellow Penguins. Members pay annual dues of $20 to the local independent Arizona alumni group, which are used to fund scholarships for YSU students. In its 15 year history, the group has awarded five scholarships,” Hartup said.

Timmins also clarified information about the annual dues.

“Our association uses our $20 annual dues for $2,000 scholarships for family members who attend YSU. There is a scholarship committee who selects the recipients from students who submit a scholarship request form,” Timmins said.

Timmins said that the group has continued to grow over the years and is expecting new members from the dinner.

“The Arizona chapter has been around since 2001 when Renny Domini, Ed Stizza, Art McGaffic, Andy Conti and Jim Reed decided to start the group in the Phoenix area. They contacted YSU alumni from lists provided by the Alumni Office, and the original chapter started out with 16 members,” Timmins said. “Since then, we have grown to as many as 50 members, with the current membership around 40 individuals. We have several new members who will be attending the April 20 dinner.”

Hartup added how wonderful the group is doing.

“The Arizona alumni group does a wonderful job of organizing its own events throughout the year. Under the leadership of YSU alumna Elaine Timmins,” Hartup said.

Timmins also noted why someone from the Youngstown area would venture to Phoenix.

“I would have to say that our great weather and job opportunities attract alumni to Phoenix. Some also had relatives here and decided to move here to be closer to family,” Timmins said.

One of the alumni who had previously helped the Phoenix group was Loraine McPhillips.

“Loraine McPhillips was very instrumental in organizing dinners and raffles and writing the newsletter. Loraine has since moved back to Youngstown last year, and she is greatly missed by our association,” Timmins said.

Even with the departure of McPhillips, the Phoenix Alumni Group is expanding and striving to create more events for its members.

“We are always looking at adding other events that may be of interest to alumni, such as baseball games, horse racing, wine tasting, museum tours and lunch, casino days and boat cruises on area lakes,” Timmins said.

Timmins said that she, along with the alumni group, is excited to hear from the trustees.

“The response from our group has been overwhelming with 35 members attending the dinner with the three trustees,” Timmins said. “Our group will be very interested to hear from the trustees about the latest developments at YSU. It should be a wonderful evening of good food and great conversation.”

Hartup expressed how she said she feels the event would positively impact the alumni group.

“The event was designed to allow the YSU trustees to meet this group of active alumni who collectively form the longest running and most philanthropic YSU alumni group,” Hartup said. “Alumni out west are looking forward to meeting the trustees and hearing the latest updates about what is happening at YSU.”