Mount Union to host national contributors for a conference on the legacy of President Obama March 10-11

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Mount Union, in conjunction with The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron, will host “The Barack Obama Presidency: Legacy and Record” conference March 10-11 on the campus of Mount Union.

The conference will feature 30 presentations with scholars from 26 different institutions from across the nation.

It will also feature guest speakers focusing on different aspects of President Obama’s tenure. The invited speakers are:

  • Jenna Brayton - White House Associate Director of Content for the Office of Digital Strategy;
  • Don Gonyea - NPR National Political Correspondent;
  • Zack Space - Former U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 18th Congressional District;
  • Ambassador (ret.) David Swartz - Former Ambassador and First U.S. Envoy to the Republic of Belarus
  • Chuck Todd – The NBC News Political Director and host of “Meet the Press” will be featured as the Schooler Lecture speaker at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 in the Timken Gymnasium in the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex. For more information on tickets, email Todd will also hold a book signing from 4:30 – 5 p.m. in the Gallaher Theater in the Giese Center.

The conference is slated to begin at 8 a.m. on March 10. Presentations will occur in three different blocks throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m.

The schedule for Friday, March 11 has panels occurring in four blocks, with the first beginning at 8 a.m. and the day concluding at 5:30 p.m. Brayton and Swartz will be featured as part of a roundtable, the scheduled moderator will be Ron Ponder from News-Talk 1480 WHBC, beginning at 12:45 p.m. that day.

All of the panels and roundtable discussions are free and open to the public throughout both days. The events on March 10 will be located in the Giese Center for Performing Arts and the events on March 11 will be located in the Hoover-Price Campus Center on Mount Union’s campus.

The luncheons featuring presentations by Gonyea and Space will be ticketed events.  For information on luncheon ticket pricing, contact Dr. Michael Grossman, associate professor of political science and international studies at Mount Union, at Seating space is limited for both luncheons and will be first come, first served for tickets. No refunds will be given after March 5.

For more details on the conference, visit

Dorsey Ney to Present at Continued Learning Program

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Dorsey Ney, owner of Healthy Heart – Healthy Pleasures, will present on “Healthy Living” during the February 16 Continued Learning Program (CLP) session at the University of Mount Union.

Ney was born and raised in Alliance, graduating from Marlington High School and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in production horticulture from Texas Tech University. She has owned and operated Healthy Heart-Healthy Pleasures since 1996, led by a deep commitment to human health. Her mother has been a constant inspiration to her, having believed that the body’s own natural defenses were superior to medicine. This early training from her mother supported and encouraged Ney’s lifelong interest in balanced health.

In 1999, Ney received an herbal apprenticeship from Healing Heart Herbals in southern Ohio. She became a yoga instructor in 2002, offering many classes each week for the public. Her interest in holistic well-being led her to learn both Reiki and Shamanism. Led by her own healing, Ney has been continually curious about what may help heal people’s bodies and souls.

CLP sessions, which are all free and open to the public, feature a variety of presentations and current perspectives, as well as time for questions and discussion.

All sessions begin at 10 a.m. and take place in the Newbold (East) Room of the Hoover-Price Campus Center. Attendees are welcome to stay for lunch in the Kresge Dining Commons – cost for “all you can eat” is $7.

For more information, contact Abby Honaker, assistant director of the Ralph and Mary Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement at Mount Union, at (330) 829-8168 or

RecycleMania Begins at Mount Union

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The 2016 RecycleMania competition kicks off this week at the University of Mount Union.

RecycleMania is a national program implemented to encourage colleges and universities to promote waste reduction activities on campus. Over the course of the competition, schools will report the amount of recycled material they collect each week. They will then be ranked in various categories over the course of the program. OAC rivals Baldwin Wallace and John Carroll will also be participating the RecycleMania challenge.

Last year, Mount Union recycled a total 53,404 pounds, an average of 6,675 pounds per week. This equaled a total of 19.5 pounds recycled per person at Mount Union, which overall ranked Mount in the top 16% of schools for pounds per person recycled.

This year’s eight-week competition will run from February 7 through April 2. Each week, the Green Raiders will collect recycled material from residence halls on campus. At the halfway point in the competition, week four, members of the residence hall with the highest amount of recyclables collected will receive preference in the ranking system used for the housing lottery.

Common items that can be recycled include paper, aluminum and metal cans, plastic bottles and all plastics, cardboard and glass. 

For more information regarding Recyclemania, contact Jamie Greiner or visit  

Office of Residence Life Hosts NEOHO Conference

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Office of Residence Life at the University of Mount Union hosted a day-long conference on January 30.

The conference, NEOHO 2016, was sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Housing Officers (NEOHO) collective association. NEOHO is an organization that provides opportunities for professionals in the field of higher education, specifically in residence life, to network, exchange ideas and resources and promote ethical decision making for their staffs. Each year, associated schools rotate to host this drive-in conference for their student staffs, primarily the resident assistants (RAs). At Mount Union, they are known as Community Educators (CEs).

To open the conference, Dr. Richard Merriman, president of Mount Union, welcomed approximately 350 residence life staff members in attendance.

“Forty three years ago, I was a freshman in college,” Merriman said. “And of all the people I’ve worked with in higher education over the years, I still remember my freshman year RA’s name.” Merriman went on to explain the importance of RAs on campuses and how impactful they can be to the students they work with each day.

This year’s theme was, “What is your chaRActer?” The theme focused on promoting and recognizing the often heroic efforts that staffs make while on the job for their residents. There were a total of 32 program sessions related to areas of diversity, programming, personal development, leadership, self-care and a few sessions geared towards graduate and/or professional staff who accompanied the undergraduates. Session presenters included professionals and students from the 18 institutions involved with NEOHO. Mount Union had several staff members present at the conference including four undergraduate student staff: Chris Brown, Brittany Coy, Reed Hardy and Anthony Sanabria. Other Mount Union faculty and professional staff members who presented included:

  • Rev. Marty CashBurless, Chaplain of the University;
  • Matthew Cintron, graduate assistant in the Office of Alcohol, Drug and Wellness Education;
  • Michael Kachilla, associate professor of economics, accounting and business administration;
  • Dr. Maira Liliestedt, associate professor of music;
  • Deborah Minton, director of student conduct;
  • Sara Randrianasolo, director of international recruitment and admissions;
  • Dr. Bryan Robinson, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice;
  • Lindsey Rudibaugh, assistant director of residence life and student involvement and leadership;
  • Melissa Turk, director of First Year Initiatives;
  • Anthony Turon, graduate assistant in the Office of First Year Initiatives;
  • Estela Vargas, graduate assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Dr. Michelle Vaughan, assistant professor of psychology;
  • TJ Wasserman, graduate assistant in the Office of Residence Life;
  • Emily Yoder, assistant director of residence life;

The schedule of the day included four concurrent session times. After the third concurrent session and during lunch, the top rated 10 sessions of the day were repeated for the fourth concurrent session period. During the closing of the conference, several awards were given out to the attendees. An award for the top rated session in each program category was granted to the presenters.

Each year, the conference host organizes a philanthropic effort to support an organization in the school’s home community. Based on recommendations from Mount Union administrators who regularly engage with community organizations, the Early Childhood Education Alliance (ECEA) was chosen as this year’s beneficiary. ECEA is a non-profit organization supporting six local preschools in the Alliance Area. ECEA’s executive director Susan Lucas worked with the conference planning committee to identify the preschools’ most pressing needs. NEOHO schools collectively donated more than 1800 items including tissues, paper towels, hand sanitizer, rulers, puzzles and games, crayons, markers and other art supplies.

The conference concluded as keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Savickas, professor and chair in the behavioral sciences department at the Northeastern Ohio Medical University and adjunct professor of counselor education at Kent State University, addressed attendees. During his speech, Savickas talked about how heroes influence who people become. He gave many examples of how famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and others have become similar to their heroes and involved audience members. 

Attendees also had the opportunity during the day to participate in a case study competition as pairs in one of two categories: new RA or experienced. Trophies were awarded to the top three teams in each category. This year, Mount Union established a new award to be given annually, the NEOHO School Spirit award. This traveling award will be presented each year by the conference host institution based on attendance, program submissions, case study participation, donations to the philanthropy, school spirit and overall attitude during the conference. This year’s inaugural award went to Cleveland State University.

In an effort to be more sustainable, the Office of Residence Life did not purchase water bottles for each conference attendee, but instead encourages attendees to bring their own water bottles and fill them up at water stations around campus. The Office of Residence Life also utilized the online and downloadable Guidebook App so that attendees could use their smartphones/tablets and computers to access the day’s schedule and events. While only minimal copies of the program were made, most participants utilized the Guidebook App and the downloadable program PDF from the website. You can also view the day’s PDF program on the Mount Union website.

Next year’s conference will be held at Ashland University.


Joe Knoll to discuss Marlington Local Schools at CLP

ALLIANCE, Ohio- February’s second Continued Learning Program (CLP) will be presented by Joe Knoll, superintendent of Marlington Local Schools, speaking on the “State of Marlington Schools.” The program will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 9 at the University of Mount Union.

Knoll, a Marlington graduate, began his educational career as a math teacher and coach in the Lorain City School system. He previously served as assistant superintendent at the Mahoning County Educational Service Center and as principal of West Branch High School. He has served as superintendent at Marlington for four years. Knoll and his wife, Jennifer, currently reside in the Marlington School District with their two children, Addyson and Andrew.

CLP sessions take place in the Newbold (East) Room of the Hoover Price Campus Center at 10 a.m. every Tuesday of the month. CLP sessions are free of charge and open to the public. Following the presentation and discussion, attendees are welcome to stay for lunch at the Kresge Dining Commons ($7). For more information about the CLP sessions, contact Abby Honaker at (330) 829-8168 or