Penguin Mates, Winter 2014

Since the summer of 2013, YSU Magazine has been inviting married YSU couples to share their love stories in our new Penguin Mates column. The couples featured here were introduced in the magazine’s Winter 2014 print edition (Page 20), and you can read their complete stories and see all their photos here.

Penguin Mates will be a continuing feature in YSU’s alumni magazine. If you and your spouse are both YSU graduates, we’d like to share your story.

Tell us how you met, and a little about your life today, in 300 words or less, and send it with a current photograph and/or a wedding photo. The photo should be a head-and-shoulders shot; if emailed, it must be a high-resolution .jpg, at least 3.5” x 5” and 300 dpi. Be sure to include your degrees, graduation years, city of residence, an email address and phone number so that we can contact you. Email to: or mail to Editor, YSU Magazine, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44515.


Richard “Chip” Hanuschak, ’86 AA, and Mary Beth Chance Hanuschak, ’74 BSEd, were married July 8, 1978. They live in Youngstown.hanuschak

How we met … My name is Mary Beth Chance Hanuschak, Class of 1974. This past July my husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We met at YSU in a tennis class taught by Bertina Laborde and were married July 8, 1978.

My husband, Richard “Chip” Hanuschak, was a well-known pitcher for the YSU baseball team, and we were both education majors. Due to injury, he only played two years, but he still holds impressive statistics. He graduated two years later and is currently employed by Falcon Transportation, which is a proud sponsor of YSU athletics. I retired from teaching in 2011, having taught 36 years.

We are both members of the YSU Alumni Society. My husband keeps in contact with the ball players from the 1970-72 teams, and every year they meet at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Where Steve Bartolin is chief executive officer. Steve is a graduate of YSU as well. The funny thing is, we no longer play tennis but we’re both avid golfers. No matter where we go, we tell the story of how we met at YSU.

– Mary Beth Chance Hanuschak


Penguin Mates Laird photoBill Laird, ’89 BS in computer science, and Christy Conn Laird, ’98 BS in math, married Sept. 28, 2002. They live in Willoughby, Ohio.

How we met … My name is Christy Laird (formally Christy Conn).  I’m an information technology manager at Progressive Insurance in Mayfield Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I met my husband, Bill Laird, when I first moved to Cleveland after graduating from YSU in 1998.  Bill worked in the same department I did when I started at Progressive.  After two years of working together, we started dating – our first date was a swing-dancing lesson – and the rest was history.   We married Sept 28, 2002 in Austintown.

Some YSU history: I graduated with a BS degree as a math major with a computer science minor in 1998; Bill graduated YSU in 1988, 10 years earlier, with a BS degree in computer science.  I believe it was fate because we both went to YSU, had some of the same professors, and our parents lived only 20 minutes from one another.  Bill’s parents live in Austintown and mine in Boardman.  As a student I had worked four years for Dr. Douglas Faires, a professor in the math department, and he attended our wedding.  Bill had a few classes with Dr. Faires as well.  Very coincidental! Thanks for letting me share our story!

– Christy Laird


Chris Morrone III, ’01 BE in mechanical engineering, and Danielle Ditullio Morrone, ’01 BS in nursing, were married Sept. 27, 2003. They live in Canfield, Ohio.

Penguin Mates Morrone photos

How we met … Danielle Ditullio began YSU in the fall of 1996 after graduating as a valedictorian from Austintown Fitch High School. She decided to study nursing after watching her father battle a long terminal illness. Chris Morrone started at YSU in the fall of the following year, fresh out of Lowellville High School where he graduated as salutatorian. He aspired to study mechanical engineering and to learn all about Newton’s laws of physics, Einstein’s theories of relativity, and of course Bernoulli’s principle.

Whether by providence or some lesser non-covalent force, Danielle and Chris casually met in the fall of 1997 in Dr. Koknat’s Chemistry 101 Class. Throughout that year, they shared academic time in Chemistry 102 and again in Nader Atway’s Chemistry Labs. Over the next two years, while working part time campus jobs, Danielle and Chris would occasionally bump into each other.

It wasn’t until one late fateful October evening in 2000 that Danielle and Chris would once again bump into each other after YSU’s decisive 42-7 victory over Indiana State. The concrete tunnels of Stambaugh Stadium provided the romantic backdrop for what would be their last accidental encounter. Perhaps it was then that YSU’s Cupid finally decided to let his arrow fly. Immediately there seemed to be something more extraordinary and magical about this meeting.

Danielle and Chris soon began dating and finished earning their degrees at YSU in the spring of 2001. Similarly to many other alumni, Danielle and Chris expected to and did leave YSU with a great and affordable education. What they didn’t expect, but will always cherish, was that YSU provided them so much more. YSU gave them an abundance of tools necessary to be successful in their careers and in life. Most importantly, YSU gave them each other and the lasting memories that they created together while there.

They were married in 2003 and now live in Canfield where they are raising their two children, Taylor and Chris. Danielle continues to work as a registered nurse at Salem Community Hospital and finds much fulfillment in helping care for her patients. Chris is a professional engineer and partner at CJL Engineering, a consulting firm specializing in mechanical and electrical design services for health care and higher education facilities. They look forward to the day when their kids will have the opportunity to attend YSU and become Penguins.


Benjamin Muniz, ’08 Associates Degree in Electrical Utility Technology, and Samantha Cope Muniz, ’09 Bachelor of Science in Education, were married June 25, 2011. They live in Hanoverton, Ohio.

Penguin Mates Muniz photo 2How we met … Ben and I attended YSU for two years before we realized that we had both attended college on the same campus. I knew Ben as an acquaintance prior to beginning college at YSU because we went to neighboring high schools and had mutual friends.  I attended West Branch High School in Beloit, Ohio and Ben attended United Local High School in Hanoverton, Ohio. It wasn’t until after Ben graduated from YSU and started working for Ohio Edison, a division of First Energy, that we started dating. We reunited after not seeing each other for a quite while at an ATV riding event that our mutual friends hosted. After talking for an extended amount of time that night, we decided to spend more time together and …the rest is history! After graduating from YSU in 2009, I accepted a full-time teaching position at Columbiana High School in Columbiana, Ohio in June of 2010. I had been working at CHS for about 2 months when Ben popped the question on a brisk fall afternoon on his grandfather’s family farm in OctoberMuniz2011-1 2010.

We were married on my parents’ family farm just outside of Alliance, Ohio on June 25, 2011. Attending YSU football games is one of our favorite things to do together and Sam attends the YSU English Festival every year with her students. So many of our favorite memories were created on YSU’s campus and although we may not have been together for many of them, we specifically remember attending the same events without knowing we were there at the same times. If only we had known what our futures held!

We currently live in Hanover ton, Ohio, a small rural town just South of Salem. Ben is employed by First Energy as a lineman and Sam is employed by United Local School District as a 10th grade English teacher.

-Samantha Muniz


Matthew Pitsch, ’10 BE in civil engineering, and Betsy Pfiller Pitsch, ’10 BSEd in early childhood education, were married Sept. 10, 2011. They live in Pittsburgh.

PENGUIN MATES Pitsch photo 1

How we met … Betsy and I were both YSU students and met on move-in day our freshmen year. At first we seemed like total opposites, but soon found we were very much alike. As we got to know each other better our relationship blossomed and we were soon dating. Together we participated in numerous activities both in and out of school. Betsy was a member of Alpha Omega Pi sorority and I was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, and we attended many mixers homecomings, parties, and formals together.PENGUIN Mates Pitsch photo 2

Betsy and I got engaged on August 23, 2009. We decided to hold the marriage until after graduation. We both graduated in 2010 – I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Betsy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. We were married on September 10, 2011 in the Youngstown area.

Not only did we meet at YSU and have the wedding in Youngstown, our entire wedding party was comprised of YSU students/graduates. We now live in the Pittsburgh area, but often return to the Youngstown area to see friends or attend the occasional football game. We have just celebrated two wonderful years of marriage together and plan on many more to come.

We owe it all to Youngstown State University for us meeting. I was from the Pittsburgh area and Betsy was attending Mount Union University. She decided to transfer and I decided to attend Youngstown State from out of state. If it wasn’t for YSU we may have never met and started such a wonderful life together.

– Matthew Pitsch

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