By Michael Calhoun
Ryan Renz graduated from IUP in 2005 with a degree in Accounting and now works under the CFO of Marion Center Bank located here in Indiana. During his career at IUP, Ryan was an active member of the IUP Ambassadors, serving on and as the Vice President of the finance committee and also serving as Executive President his senior year. I was able to sit down with Ryan to talk about his Ambassador experience and he was more than willing to share stories, insights, and advice to , current and future ambassadors.
Ryan learned of our organization when one of his accounting professors recognized him as an outstanding student and recommended that he apply. Without really knowing what to expect, he took the plunge and quickly fell in love with the organization and all it stands for. “I did not build up my expectations ahead of time,” explained Ryan, “so the few that I had were greatly exceeded.” He felt that joining Ambassadors would be a great way to meet new people apart from his Eberly community and a way to get involved across campus. The relationships he formed have lasted to this day and opportunities for involvement he never expected began to come his way.
He took full advantage of his time in Ambassadors getting involved with whatever he could. In addition to his leadership positions, Ryan attended multiple CASE conferences on the district and national levels in cities from Philadelphia to Portland, Oregon. One of his finest memories was bringing back to IUP the idea of “mess fest” from another school at CASE. Mess fest was a day of mud volleyball and other messy fun, but was short lived here on campus. Regardless, it was an enjoyable event and one he will remember for the rest of his life. Another great memory he shared with me was from his time working at Kidz Karnival, a Homecoming tradition we still keep today. One year he was able to dress up as cartoon favorite Shrek, and was a big hit with many of the kids. The smile one particular child’s face was one of the most genuine and happy things Ryan witnessed that day, and became a fond memory.
His time as President is something Ryan looks back on with great pride, pointing out that the opportunity to work with the best and brightest students on campus was an amazing honor. It was motivating to realize the confidence his peers had within him in nominating him for the role. I asked Ryan what he would consider his favorite memory from Ambassadors, and after a short pause he explained “I think I answer this question differently each time it is asked to me. It is really difficult to narrow down Ambassadors into one specific experience.” His answer hit the nail right on the head. This organization provides so much to each and every one of us that it is almost impossible to put one moment above the others.
The benefits he received from Ambassadors did not just manifest themselves during his time at IUP. Ryan was quick to attest his time management skills, his dedication, and his leadership abilities to the experience with our organization. These talents and skills have proven immensely beneficial to his work life, family life, and to his current endeavor of achieving his Master’s Degree from IUP’s Eberly Business College.
My conversation with Ryan was a great reminder to what exactly it is that I and my fellow Ambassadors have in this experience we share. Even though his time of service was several years before mine, the family-like culture and pride remains the same.