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Rory '84 and Diane Yanchek

Rory '84 and Diane Yanchek


By Susan Field

One of Rory Yanchek's core values is to help others. "I was raised to help others. I benefited from many generous acts from kind and thoughtful people in my life. I try to give back to individuals and institutions that helped me," said Yanchek, a 1984 graduate in political science. He is now the vice president and general manager of 3M Government Markets. "The way we can help future generations is to lend a helping hand by giving back." To pay it forward, in 2017 Yanchek and his wife Diane established the Rory J. Yanchek '84 Endowed Scholarship and the Rory J. Yanchek '84 Annual Scholarship. Yanchek is also a member of the ESU Foundation Board of Directors.

After growing up in Carbondale, Yanchek selected East Stroudsburg University because it had good Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) and Political Science programs. He joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Simultaneous Membership Program, which allowed him to enroll in college and the National Guard at the same time, leading to a commission in a United States Army Reserve. "ESU holds a special place in my life. It provided me with a great academic education, but most of the learning took place outside the classroom," said Yanchek, who resides in Great Falls, Va.

Through his various activities — Sigma Pi and RHEC (Residents Hall Executive Council), orientation aid for incoming students, and intramural flag football and soccer — Yanchek learned how to get along with others, how to be a part of a team as a follower and a leader, how to listen, understand, and act. "I was the beneficiary of encouragement that helped me to realize my potential," Yanchek said.

A few of those providing Yanchek encouragement were Valerie Hodge, then vice president for Student Affairs, who Yanchek remembers being fun, and having good character and a caring soul, Anthony Gaglione, a political science professor who opened his mind to thinking from all perspectives, and Harry Hartman, an economics professor, who made complex theories practical. While an undergraduate student, Yanchek lived in Monroe Hall. After his sophomore year, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and served for two years in the local National Guard Armory in East Stroudsburg. Some of his most enjoyable classes were his physical education classes of archery, and canoeing. He also held two jobs, one at Peppe's Restaurant in East Stroudsburg, and another as a bellhop at the now defunct Penn Hills Resort, a honeymoon resort in Analomink. "I remember fall evenings on campus, we'd have bonfires.

Intramurals were a lot of fun, as were fraternity activities and formals. In R.O.T.C., we'd spend a lot of time having adventures at the Delaware Water Gap," Yanchek said. "When the Phillies won the World Series my freshman year (1980), all the students ran out onto the quad and celebrated."

Upon graduation, Yanchek went on active duty in the U.S. Army for three years, stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey, Calif. He served for more than 10 years in the active and reserve components of the Army as an Airborne Ranger Qualified Infantry Officer. In his career, Yanchek has held a variety of sales, marketing, managerial and executive roles in various industries. In 1998, he joined the 3M Company. In his current enterprise-level role, he is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of 3M's United States Government-focused business.

Yanchek has been married to Diane, a pre-school director, for 31 years. They have two children, Matthew, a Penn State graduate, who works as a marketer for a medical company, and Julia, a senior at the University of Tennessee. Though the name Julia wasn't selected with ESU in mind, Yanchek points out the ESU connection. The famous "Julia" statue, purchased by alumni following World War II to honor the school's servicemen, stands at the entrance of the university, and is an enduring symbol of patriotism.

The joy Yanchek gets from giving back to the university is worth more than the gift itself. "I would encourage everyone to reflect on what their experiences at ESU have given them and look deep into their hearts to see if they can find a way to help others in the same way," he said.