This is the fifth in a series of stories heralding the many great people of the University of Findlay and the ways they support our mission of preparing students for meaningful lives and productive careers.
Rachel Darroch ’07, loves her job as the assistant director of alumni at University of Findlay as much, if not more, than she did her time as a student here. Her zeal for life, for the University, and for making current students, parents, and alumni share in that feeling is something that makes her ideal for her position. It’s a contagious enthusiasm that inevitably rubs off on those with whom she comes into contact, and it makes it very clear that UF means to her as much as she means to it.
Back when she was still in high school and was with her mother on a whirlwind trip loaded with as many college visits in the area as they could squeeze in, UF wasn’t immediately on her radar. Looking for a smaller school in Ohio close to the Cleveland area where she is from, UF, which had sent her information prior, seemed to fit the bill on paper. Upon their arrival, however, Darroch, in her youthful angst, was a bit hesitant. “We pulled up and parked, and I said to my mom, ‘This campus is a courtyard! There’s nothing to it!’,” she said. That was, of course, before they had gotten the full view of campus and what University of Findlay offers. When that happened, her enthusiasm ratcheted up exponentially. “As soon as we took a few steps onto campus, I actually realized how pretty it was,” she added.
The individualized attentiveness shown by UF also impressed both her and her mother. “When we felt the kind of care and attention UF gives right from the start, my opinion changed really quickly. “It’s 100% you,” she explained. “They made so much time for us, and it was just really, really impressive.” As Darroch was interested in focusing on religious studies as a student, a meeting was set up with professor of religion Louis Stulman, Ph.D., who, she remarked, was “so cultured, so intelligent, and so peaceful, I knew I wanted to learn from him.” Darroch, an illustrator and photographer in her spare time, also had intentions of aiming her attention toward art and children’s book illustration, but wasn’t sure how to pull that off. “I told professor Stulman that, and, next thing you know, [associate professor of art] Ed Corle came to meet with me also, and explained all the art areas that were available at UF.” Rachel and her mom went on to visit other schools during that time, but she couldn’t shake the impression that UF and its faculty had left on her. She became an Oiler, and called her experience as a student “fantastic and everything you would want it to be.”
Now, over a decade later, and nearly two years into her time as an employee of UF, her wish is to show that same type of passion and vivacity to Oiler Nation. She saw a need, for instance, to re-envision Generation Orange as a young alumni group for graduates up to thirty five years of age. Also known as GO!, the group is now set up to match the “energy and enthusiasm” of young alumni such as herself, something she feels is necessary in order for the University to be a “constant engager,” as she calls it, and to continuously make graduates, no matter when it was they left Findlay, to feel a part of the University. “We have such a dynamic campus,” she said, “and we want people to feel like coming back to that time in their lives. To come back to Findlay.”
Darroch said that, along with the two constants in her life–her mom and her faith–there have been many people and places that have inspired her and continue to inspire her today. “I’m still so thankful for the time spent working for [former campus pastor and current worship pastor at College First Church] Will Miller and the College First Youth Group,” she said. “All the people I work with and for at UF are encouraging and make time here special.” She also mentioned her sister, Erika, her boyfriend, Doug (whom she met while they were both students at UF), and many family members and friends as being an integral part of who she is. It seems that her upbringing and becoming the person she is currently was a group effort, one that she cherishes a great deal.
“Not only did UF give me my education, it gave me the friendships and relationship with the most important people in my life. And there is so much more life to be lived. My favorite quote is ‘Don’t live the same year seventy-five times and call it a life,’” she said. “That’s how I try to live and I want to inspire others to live that way, too.”