“I’ve made numerous friends,” she says in a hushed tone. “I love to talk.” It’s no secret that Mary Dimitriou talks, as alumni from across the country call her to chat, to find out how YSU is doing and get news from the area. When she’s not promoting YSU and drawing back alums, Mary budgets and monitors Alumni & Events Management’s finances.
Born and raised in Youngstown by her Yugoslavian parents, she graduated from Ursuline High School and started at YSU. At the same time, she began working at Strouss-Hirshberg department store downtown, and loved it so much she left her studies to work there full-time. Mary later worked at Browning – Ferris Industries and enjoyed travelling for them, before putting her career on hold to become a stay-at-home mother for her two children. She came to
YSU 25 years ago, when the Alumni Office was not yet a part of the university.
“It feels like home,” she says, referring both to the surprisingly cozy converted mansion that is Alumni House and to her colleagues. It’s a tribute to the school and her love for YSU that her entire family: children, husband, nieces and nephews, were educated here, and she is looking forward to her two grandchildren following in their footsteps.
Mary’s family isn’t large, so she shares her positive attitude and spirit for life with everyone. She is a driving force in her church and a member of many committees and charitable causes, all the while drawing people into her many circles of friends, which rapidly become like families. “It’s so worthwhile helping people, because it comes back to you.”
When her husband passed away in 2008, the support from her friends and families was overwhelming. “It’s been an almost perfect life if I still had my husband,” she adds with a half smile. “I’m happy; we have to be happy,” she says. “If a person’s not happy, nothing’s going to work.”