The name to which her 14-year-old mutt responds is no coincidence.
“My dad is a
huge Bona’s fan, I think even more so than when he went here,” said Anne
Young, who will graduate in May with a psychology degree. “He’s on the
(alumni) basketball blog every day, and follows all the teams on the
school Web site.
“I mean, our dog’s name is Bonnie,” she said with her infectious laugh. “What else do you need to know?”
Thomas Young, ’74, never pushed his daughter to attend St. Bonaventure.
He and his
wife, Linda, were married at his alma mater and celebrated their union
at The Castle restaurant. They visited campus a couple times with
daughters Anne and Maggie, now 16. That was the extent of the
& Mary was actually my first choice, but when I didn’t get accepted,
Bonaventure became a real possibility. It was always a big place in my
life because of my dad’s love for it, and they offered me a really nice
scholarship and the chance to graduate in three years,” said Anne, who
came to college with 30 credits in hand.
want to push her onto Bona’s because it’s so easy to fall into the trap
of, ‘Oh, I loved it so much, so will you,’ because you just don’t know.
So much time has passed since I went there,” Thomas Young said. “I was
hopeful that the Franciscan presence and the caring atmosphere that I
experienced in the ’70s was still there because I knew that those were
intangibles she’d be attracted to.”
later, Anne Young can’t imagine having gone anywhere else. She’s deeply
passionate about a place that’s helped bring clarity to her faith.
“I just had
no idea it could be so different,” Anne said. “I didn’t grow up
repressive by any means. I deeply value what my church has meant in my
life. But I just had a very traditional understanding of Catholicism. We
always went to Mass, and to CCD (Catechism). My parents taught Sunday
wasn’t cool in my parish for kids to be involved in church. You just
feel at times that you’re there because you’re supposed to be there.”
The first campus Mass she attended was startling.
“Going to that Mass and having kids singing, kids who wanted to be
there, was amazing,” Anne recalled. “Wow! It’s OK to go to church. It’s
cool. People liked to talk about their spirituality, and that was
totally new to me.”
before her first class as a freshman, Anne attended a day away at Mt.
Irenaeus, the Franciscan retreat 30 miles from campus. She met Fr. Dan
Riley, O.F.M., guardian of the Holy Peace Friary at the Mountain.
“He had us
all sit on the ground, feeling the earth holding us up, and everyone is
looking at each other thinking, ‘What is going on here?’” she said. “And
I loved it. As soon as I heard that laugh I thought, ‘This is one cool
guy.’ He’s so emblematic of this place.”
Fr. Dan speaks just as highly of Anne.
especially vibrant young woman, a great role model for undergrads and
grads, and she has a rich, deep interest in other people, in family,”
Fr. Dan said. “She has the comfort and courage to ask big questions, but
in a practical way. Anne’s sense of wonder is typical of one of
Francis’ simple prayers, ‘God, who are you and who am I?’”
passion for Mt. Irenaeus thrust her into a leadership role with Students
for the Mountain, and her ability to bridge generational divides has
made her a frequent participant in Mountain on the Road events, which
allow alumni to reconnect spiritually with St. Bonaventure.
“To see the
way people light up at these events is amazing,” Anne said. “There’s
something special about a place that can make people who haven’t been
back to campus in 20 years be so excited to be with each other. Where
I’m from, everyone goes to these huge Big 10 schools with 40,000 other
people. They just don’t have that kind of bond.”
A native of
Hinsdale, Ill., Anne — a huge Cubs fan, so don’t mention Steve Bartman
within earshot of her — often feels like a stranger in a strange land
when she goes home on breaks.
“It’s like a
different world,” she said. “So many of the people I went to high school
with are in sororities at U of I (Illinois), and that just means
nothing to me. It just seems so superficial.”
experiences she’s had at St. Bonaventure opened her eyes to things she
couldn’t possibly see in Hinsdale, an affluent suburb 20 miles west of
Chicago. From taking on a Bona Buddy as a freshman, to volunteering at
the Warming House, to working with at-risk children in Salamanca, Anne
now knows that life is awfully hard for so many people.
feel uncomfortable when I go home at times,” she said. “I did some
community service in high school, but it was just such a patronizing
attitude — ‘Here we come from the rich suburbs and we’re going to help
the masses.’ It’s just a different attitude here.”
Service is now the foundation of Anne’s faith.
lucky that my parents raised us to never feel entitled, and to encourage
us to always give back,” Anne said. “The gospel of faith and good works
is something I really believe in. I don’t think you can just believe in
something and not apply it. There has to be a level of active community
involvement, and that’s a core belief of this school that’s really
taken the LSAT and plans one day to attend law school. Social justice
intrigues her. But she’s not quite ready for grad school. On Nov. 10,
she was accepted for a Teach for America position to work for two years
in a low-income school in Mississippi. Roughly 5,000 students are chosen
from among 30,000 applicants.
“I am so
excited, and so honored to represent Bona’s,” Anne said. “I don’t think I
would have gotten the job if it hadn’t been for my experience tutoring
in Salamanca through the Journey Project. I’m so grateful to that
program and the people who have helped me.”
Thomas Young couldn’t be prouder of the young woman Anne has become.
“My hopes for
her at St. Bonaventure have been realized. I’m so glad for her that her
faith is so meaningful now because once it takes root in your heart and
your soul, it’s so valuable to have for the rest of your life.”