In this life, there are people who have seemingly been designated for a certain path since the days of their youth. There are stories of people being “destined” to become one thing or another, and, somehow, they make their way somewhat predictably, although the path is not always the straightest. For The Honorable Christina Muryn ‘14, Mayor of the City of Findlay and a graduate of University of Findlay, that wasn’t exactly the case.
There were signs, however, both tangible and otherwise, that pointed Christina Muryn toward University of Findlay. “Since I grew up locally and going to Oiler basketball games [Muryn’s grandfather is former UF treasurer and vice president of business affairs, Marty Terry], UF already felt very “homey” to me. Before becoming an Oiler, I had interacted with faculty and staff, and they were always invested in me,” she said.
So, when it was time to decide which college to attend, the familiar mental wrestling match between wanting to get away and spread her wings and staying where she felt an ongoing connection was won by the latter. She would be expected to pay for her own education, which was a bit daunting, but aided with the personality trait of “going at things with 110%” and a healthy heaping of that aforementioned faith, she knew she would find a way. “I feel like I applied for hundreds of scholarships,” she said. And those scholarships, she added–some from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation, and many from UF itself–paired with internships and various “odd” jobs, helped her to graduate from UF with virtually no debt. It was yet another example in a long line of “making this happen” for her.
Muryn explained that it was the diversity in opportunities, the ability to get involved in multiple clubs and organizations, and the support and genuine interest of the UF community at large that, as a student, paved the way for her to be adept at numerous skills and comfortable with moving in different directions after graduation. She met her future husband, a former UF soccer player, during her freshman year at UF, started working with the Pain Management Group, whose corporate office is located in Findlay, during her senior year, got married a month after graduating, and continued working with the group until the opportunity to become mayor presented itself in January of last year.
She had majored in economics and marketing and minored in finance at UF, so when former Findlay mayor [and UF aluma] Lydia Mihalik resigned to take a position in Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s cabinet, and a group of folks expressed interest in supporting her, Muryn wasn’t overly surprised to be appointed by the Hancock County Republican Central Committee as Mihalik’s replacement. “It was a little bit of a shock, but I had also served on that committee for years myself, and people knew me from that,” she explained. “I believe that God opens doors that are supposed to be opened, and when you have the opportunity to step out in faith, you should do it.” So, after talking with family and friends, brainstorming with folks about her potential platform, and collecting all of the skills and traits she is equipped with, she found herself, somewhat suddenly, the mayor of Findlay, Ohio. “The appointment process was on a Monday night, and that Tuesday morning, I showed up downtown and said, ‘Hi, I’m your new mayor,’” she recalled. Then, just this past November, she ran in the official election, and was named the permanent and current mayor. “It feels very natural,” she said. “We have a great team who definitely know what they’re doing.”
Muryn was quick to point out that it was UF that so thoroughly equipped her to understand finance. It gave her the ability to understand and analyze information, and helped her to recognize cause and effect, among other things. “Also, the marketing side showed me how to cast my vision, market the community and market myself, and share what I want to accomplish. UF gave me a really good balance of the analytical and the sales,” she explained.
Still, Muryn said that she insists on staying the same “simple” girl who grew up in Findlay and put down roots here from the get-go. “It’s still strange for me at times, because it doesn’t feel like a big deal, and then I hear people say that their children, and especially their daughters, think what I do is so cool,” she said. “We have a such wonderful community here in Findlay, both at UF and in general. That makes it a lot easier.”