Blank PNG

Donor and Student Stories

Relationships forge the way to giving back

Charles ’84 M ’86 and Teresa Taylor

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Taylor ’84 M ’86, a computer science major, is inspired to give back to East Stroudsburg University to show appreciation to the school and academic department which are the foundations of his success.

The newly established Charles T. ’84, M ’86 and Teresa M. Taylor Endowed Scholarship is designed for a computer science major who aspires to work in the Department of Defense/intelligence community.

“My wife Teresa and I believe philanthropy comes from the heart. We enjoy giving to organizations which have enabled us to be where we are today,” said Taylor, former founding president of Proteus Technologies, LLC, and former
executive vice president of Polaris Alpha. Both companies specialized in building custom applications for the Department of Defense and intelligence community.

During his time at ESU, Taylor learned the importance of building strong relationships to be successful. One of his most pivotal relationships began his freshman year when he met computer science Professor, Dr. Richard Prince.

School didn’t come easily to Taylor and he struggled with his first computer science classes. He remembers spending most evenings working on assignments in the computer room on the fourth floor of Stroud Hall. For one particular programming assignment, Taylor broke down in tears in his third-floor Shawnee Hall dorm room.

He sought the help of Prince. “I remember sitting in his office, and his phone was ringing. It was his wife, Dr. Debbie Prince (former mathematics professor at ESU), saying that dinner was ready. Dr. Prince said, ‘I have a student here with me,’ and he didn’t go home. He was more concerned that I understood how to complete the assignment,” Taylor said.

Taylor had Prince for eight more semesters over his years at ESU, which spanned undergraduate and graduate degrees. Throughout his academic career, Prince was the most challenging professor Taylor ever had, but also the one that pushed him to learn the most.

“I remember handing in 2,000 lines of source code for an assignment. Professor Prince took the time to read every single line and point out where I could improve. He was a brilliant, kind, good person. I truly wish more people would have had him as a professor before he passed away,” said Taylor, who still exchanges Christmas cards with Prince’s wife every year.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Taylor became one of the first two graduates of the university’s Computer Science Master’s program in 1986. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Lehigh University in 1990.
Taylor used the foundations that he learned through Dr. Prince and his time at ESU to become a reputable leader in his field.

Paying it forward through service and philanthropy

Rory ’84 and Diane Yanchek

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.