Nine Accounting Students Spend Their Spring Interning at Area Firms

Mount Union Accounting MajorALLIANCE, Ohio – Many would be intimidated by an experience that involves 13-hour workdays, one-hour commutes (each way) and numerous hours completing audits and tax work, but this semester that is the exact experience that nine University of Mount Union students embraced.

This spring, nine accounting majors, including five seniors, two juniors and two sophomores, took advantage of that opportunity. These students were enrolled in Accounting 499, an eight-credit hour internship working at accounting firms all over northeast Ohio. Students traveled as far as Dover, Ohio to work with Novogradac and Company to Youngstown, Ohio with the Auditor of State. Others commuted to the 415 Group and Hall Kistler in Canton, Ohio and one stayed in Alliance to work with Hill, Barth and King.

“I really appreciate the CPA firms who have partnered with Mount Union,” said Ruth Pogacnik, associate professor of accounting. “The experience our students have been getting at these firms will go a long way towards jump starting their professional careers.”

Last week, these students gathered together to talk to other business majors about their experiences interning. They covered topics such as acquiring the internship, training on the job, daily responsibilities and their overall learning points.

Michael Kelly, a senior accounting major of Louisville, Ohio, was able to work out a part-time internship with Hall Kistler to accommodate his extracurricular activities. He stressed the importance of not being overwhelmed during the first few weeks to younger students, “It’s definitely different than taking notes in the classroom, and it’s easy to feel like you don’t know anything. But if you just take it one day at a time, you’ll learn how your office functions and fall into rhythm with it.”

“Internships are extremely important for accounting majors,” said Pogacnik. “An internship opportunity enables students to learn about things they can’t learn in a classroom setting. For example, they learn how to function in an office environment, how to adjust to a corporate culture and how to deal with deadlines and job-related stress.”

Senior accounting majors Ed Ruhnke, of Bayville, New Jersey, and Will Hubert, of Brecksville, Ohio, shared the same hour-long commute to Novogradac and Company in Dover, Ohio. Ruhnke’s advice to the aspiring accounting students in the room was, “You’re definitely going to have to start drinking coffee if you don’t already. Tax season is crazy.” Hubert followed up with, “Embrace waking up early! I’ve been done with my internship for over two weeks and still can’t sleep past 7 a.m.”

As for future plans, several seniors are waiting for their exit interviews to determine their futures with their respective companies while a few are planning on attending graduate school at Case Western Reserve University and Ohio Northern and then sitting for the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam.

Mount Union Plans 170th Baccalaureate and Commencement Ceremonies

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union will hold its 170th Baccalaureate service at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday May 7 in the Peterson Field House of the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex. This will precede the University’s Commencement Ceremony to be held at 1:30 p.m.  

During the student-organized worship service, Ian LeRoy ‘14 will play a prelude on piano. The invocation will be given by Xin Fang Mak ’15. The Mount Union Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Grant W. Cook III, professor of music and director of choral activities, will perform during the ceremony and Jennifer Imhoff ‘15 will give a scripture reading. Mikayla Kovacik ’16 will serve as song leader for a hymn and Tyler Barney ‘16 and Gabrielle Pishotti ‘16 will give additional scripture readings. The Rev. Marty CashBurless, University chaplain, will lead passing the peace and Dr. W. Richard Merriman, Jr., president of the University, will introduce the speaker.

The Rev. Joyce Lawson, an ordained elder in the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and the current pastor of the United Methodist Church of Chagrin Falls, will give the sermon. Lawson graduated from Mayfield High School in 1979, received a bachelor’s degree from Mount Union in 1983 and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological School in 1986. She has served at various churches including Brookfield United Methodist Church in Brookfield, Ohio; Mahoning United Methodist Church in Youngstown, Ohio; Apollo United Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania and Johnsville and Steam Corners United Methodist Churches in Morrow County, Ohio.

Following the Baccalaureate ceremony, the 170th commencement celebration will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Peterson Field House. Dr. Richard Drake, director of anatomy and professor of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, will give the commencement address, presenting, “Taking Advantage of the Next Opportunity.” Drake is a 1972 graduate of Mount Union where he studied biology. Among his numerous professional accomplishments, Drake has published the book, “Gray’s Anatomy for Students,” which was written with another anatomist and physician. He has also given numerous professional lectures and talks at national and international meetings. He is an adjunct faculty member in the University’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies and is a member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees.

For more information regarding the Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies, visit

2016 Outstanding Senior Woman and Man Named

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mackenzie Shivers and Daniel Pritchard were named 2016 Outstanding Senior Woman and Man during the University of Mount Union’s Honors Convocation and Senior Recognition Ceremony held last week.

Each year, the Outstanding Senior Woman and Outstanding Senior Man are awarded to a student who exemplifies leadership, scholarship, citizenship and service to the University. Students who are nominated hold the highest ideals in their relationships with members of the campus community and have made numerous contributions to the University. Members of the senior class were asked to nominate their peers and faculty and staff selected the winners.

Shivers is a management and marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship of Salem, Ohio. Her involvements and contributions to campus include Dean’s List, Association of Women Students, Blue Key, Delta Sigma Tau, Emerging Leaders, Developing Leaders, Dowling Mentor, Entrepreneurship Education Consortium Summer Immersion Week Program, Greek Member Academy, Homecoming Court, New Student Communication social media moderator, Order of Omega, People’s Bank Case Study Competition participant, Preview and Orientation Guide, Raider Tank Entrepreneurial Competition, Regula Scholar, Residence Hall Association, Sophomore Service and a Business Incubator intern.

Other female nominees included Clare Byrne, a communication studies and psychology major of Glen Ellyn, Illinois; Hannah Ernst, an athletic training major with minors in exercise science and psychology of Lorain, Ohio and Jena Finch, an intervention specialist major with a minor in art of Boardman, Ohio.

Pritchard, of Rocky River, Ohio, is a biology major with minors in chemistry and psychology.  His involvement on campus includes Dean’s List, Alpha Lambda Delta, American Chemical Society, Association of International Students, Association of Pre-Physician Assistant Students, Beta Beta Beta, College Republicans, Homecoming Court, Honors Program, Interfraternity Council, Order of Omega, Raider Programming Board, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Student Senate, Student Senate Representative to the Board of Trustees and a Study Abroad participant.

Other male nominees included Tyler Barney, an exercise science major with a minor in art of Blanchester, Ohio, Toren Moore, an exercise science major with minors in chemistry and psychology of Columbus, Ohio and Will Yobi, a biochemistry major with minors in business administration of Canfield, Ohio.

Dr. Grant Cook Named 2016 Mount Union Great Teacher

ALLIANCE, Ohio- During the University Mount Union’s Honors Convocation and Senior Awards presentation held recently, Dr. Grant Cook, professor of music and director of choral activities, was presented with the prestigious Great Teacher Award.

Since 1962, the Great Teacher Award has been presented to a professor who demonstrates dedication to the university and excellence in teaching, the foundation on which the reputation of Mount Union has been built. Sponsored by the Alumni Association, the Great Teacher is chosen by a selection committee consisting of senior class officers, past recipients and members of the Alumni Association.

Cook earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal pedagogy from Heidelberg University and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in historical musicology/ethnomusicology from Kent State University’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. Cook has been a dedicated and active professor of the Mount Union faculty since 2011. At Mount Union, he conducts the Concert Choir and Cantus Femina, teaches choral conducting and literature and administers the University’s choral program.

Cook’s research interests focus on the life and writing of scholar Alexander Weelock Thaylor. His research has been published in The Choral Scholar, Choral Journal and the Beethoven Journal as well as being presented at meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Ohio Choral Director’s Association.

In their recommendations, Cook’s students spoke highly of his passion for music and passion for helping students succeed, saying, “I know that my nominee has so much respect for and faith in all students, cheering them on during all of their successes as well as offering encouragement when faced with failures.”

Another student nominator stated, “The strongest evidence that I have that makes my professor an excellent nominee is that this individual teaches how to have passion for music, and for what we do no matter our field of study – to learn from our mistakes and to always continue to strive for excellence.”

A third student wrote of the bond that Dr. Cook shares with all of his students, stating, “ My nominee’s immense love and support for the students is nothing short of spectacular. Never does my nominee portray the notion of a student/teacher hierarchy, for this professor believes in working collaboratively with the students with the upmost respect and confidence.”

When describing his teaching style, Cook referenced Parker Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life.” Cook relates Palmer’s writings to his belief of connectedness with students.

“The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts,” he stated. “I believe that teaching is service and that a teacher’s best equipment is compassion.”


Mount Union Presents 2016 Green Raider Awards

ALLIANCE, Ohio – During a ceremony held near the Campus Lakes on Earth Day, the University of Mount Union presented Green Raider Awards to a group of recipients who enhance sustainability on campus.

Each year, Mount Union presents awards to a faculty member, staff member and a student who showcase a strong awareness of living green through their dedication to promoting the principles of social, financial and environmental responsibility both to the University and the Alliance community.

This year’s recipients are Dr. Paul Tidman, professor of philosophy and religious studies; Jim Rhodes, assistant director of the physical plant and senior Becky Oblak, a middle childhood education major of Strongsville, Ohio. In honor of these individuals, the Mount Union Physical Plant planted an Eastern Redbud tree near the Campus Lakes. In addition, each recipient was presented with a sustainability-related book in his or her field of expertise.

According to Anson Gross, Mount Union grounds and fleet supervisor, the Eastern Redbud was chosen because it will add spring color to the south side of the lakes on campus. Gross said the tree will have a deep pink bloom in April and a unique branching structure. The tree will grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet and will be “right at home underneath the outer canopy of the mature pin oaks nearby,” he said.

Tidman leads the Wilderness Trip and teaches environmental ethics at Mount Union. His nominator said of Tidman, “he really broadened my ideas when it comes to environmentalism and the ways I should treat things like plants and insects and wild animals in general. My Mount Union experience would not be nearly as good if not for him.”

Rhodes is a leader in the area of sustainability in both the Physical Plant and throughout the campus. He is a founding member of the Sustainability Management Advisory Committee (SMAC) and is involved in promoting the sustainability cause with student organizations. He volunteers to be a guest speaker in classes on campus and is always willing to sit and discuss the various ways people can help be more sustainable in their work and home lives. According to his nominator, “Rhodes plays a valuable role within Physical Plant, initiating energy reducing projects for water, natural gas and electricity.”

Oblak has been a Green Raider for four years. She has participated in sustainability events such as freshman orientation, No Impact Week, Game Day Challenge, Recyclemania and Earth Month. According to her nominator, “her many suggestions for improvements and contributions to campus sustainability initiatives have been invaluable.”

These three recipients exemplified efforts in sustainability over the course of this year through their commitment to education, operational efficiency and social awareness,” said Jamie Greiner, sustainability and campus outreach manager at Mount Union.