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PAYING IT FORWARD THROUGH SERVICE AND PHILANTHROPY
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
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
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.
An IRA rollover allows people age 70½ and older to reduce their taxable income by making a gift directly from their IRA.