Renee Young Shares Love for Mount Union, Alliance Community
March 23, 2016
Most people would never guess that Renee Young once hated Mount Union.
Young, who is commonly referred to as “Miss Renee” by Mount Union students, is a self-appointed cheerleader for all things related to Mount Union and Alliance. However, when she first moved to Alliance from New Jersey several years ago, “love” was not a term she used when describing the school. At the time, the Purple Raiders football team was matched up against Rowan University and always beat her beloved “Jersey school.”
“But as I watched Mount Union grow and saw the campus and what was going on here, I thought to myself that it was a good school and it would be a great school for my sons to attend when they grew up,” Young recalls.
When Young first moved to Alliance, she worked in the insurance field as a claims adjuster, traveling outside of Alliance to go to work. However, when she came home in the evenings, she devoted a significant amount of her time giving back to her new hometown. She became involved with organizations such as the YWCA and the Quota Club of Alliance, a civic organization that raises funds for the hearing impaired and disadvantaged women and children. In addition, she became a board member of the Alliance Community Pantry and a commissioned member of the Civil Service Commission for the city. She is also an active member of First Friends Church, where she serves coffee on Sunday mornings.
“I believe that a community is only as strong as the people who live in it and I want my kids to realize that they have to be a part of something bigger than themselves and help others,” Young said.
Through her work in the Alliance community, Young heard of a job opening as a student accounts manager in Mount Union’s Business Office. She interviewed for the job and started working at Mount Union almost seven years ago.
“This job has been such a blessing,” said Young, noting that it allowed her to be closer to her sons Marques, 18 and Anthony, 16, both students at Alliance High School. “I love that I can be a part of Mount Union students’ lives and be an asset to them.”
Although Young’s work with students and parents often involves tedious conversation about finances and account status, she doesn’t waste an opportunity to share her own life lessons in the process.
“I tell students the story about what I went through in college – my father died when I was in high school and during my senior year of college, my mother was ill so I dropped out of school, went to work and eventually finished my degree by attending night classes at Rutgers University,” she said. “I tell students that you never know what life is going to bring you and it’s not important what your degree is in – what’s important is your grade point average. Most companies are looking for graduates they can teach.”
Young has continued to be an inspiration to students and her colleagues at Mount Union as she battled an aggressive form of breast cancer diagnosed in October. Despite side effects from treatments and surgeries, she has continued working as much as possible and has kept the positive attitude she’s become known for.
“My faith is what keeps me going,” said Young. “God didn’t bring me this far in my life to let everything crumble around me. My Mount Union family has been exceptional and has rallied around me from the time they found out about my diagnosis. I couldn’t ask for better friends.”
Young is now cancer free and is completing treatments to make sure she stays that way. She is regaining her strength and her hair is even starting to grow back.
“I’m laughing about that because it’s just funny – I like my new ‘do,” she said.
Through her work in the business office, Young is always looking for ways to help students and coworkers. When she meets students looking for a place to worship in the Alliance area, she has been known to introduce them to area churches. In addition, she is a notary public and is happy to help those on campus who need items notarized at no charge.
“My job here at Mount Union is just like my job at the YWCA, Quota or the pantry, but I get paid for it,” she said. “I like what I do and I get paid to do it.”