Fast Facts about Danielle Young
She is the executive director of the Alumni Association of Oberlin College located in Oberlin, Ohio.
Founded in 1833, Oberlin College was one of the earliest colleges to admit African-American students. The alumni association began in 1839 and now serves more than 40,000 graduates. The college has offered alumni trips ever since its first successful trip to Bavaria, Germany, in 1975.
Born: Minneapolis, Minnesota, but raised in Denver
Education: B.A. in English at Colorado State University
Employment: Before coming to Oberlin College, Young worked in alumni relations at Pennsylvania State University. She joined Oberlin’s alumni association 12 years ago.
Family: Young and her husband, Patrick, met in East Berlin in 1986 as exchange students.
Hobbies: Young’s passions include travel, photography and playing the mandolin.
In 1986, Danielle Young found herself in East Berlin on an unexpected trip that would dramatically alter the rest of her life. Not only did this formative trip teach her the joy of immersing herself in a foreign culture, but on it, she also met the love of her life: her husband, Patrick.
“I was a senior in high school, and I received a surprise scholarship to study in Germany for a year,” said Young, executive director of the Oberlin College Alumni Association. “I’d never traveled internationally before that, and I did not know German. Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
Young discovered a lot about travel during that year. She gained perspective on navigating a different culture and staying flexible while facing challenges.
“I learned a lot about my own capabilities,” said Young. “I got a lot of confidence while I dealt with unexpected things that happened along the way. I experienced that and met my husband, so it was life changing in every way.”
The love of travel she gained during this year still drives her enthusiasm for Oberlin College’s thriving alumni travel program all these years later.
After her year in Germany, Young had stayed on the lookout for any excuse to travel. When she was promoted to executive director in 2008, she felt excited that among her new tasks, she would oversee Oberlin’s alumni association’s travel program.
“I had never done any professional travel planning before, but I was already very passionate about travel,” said Young. “It’s been a favorite part of my job here. I learned a lot on the job and while working with great travel partners.”
Though Young had not yet planned group travel when she started as executive director, she had plenty of alumni relations experience from a previous job at Pennsylvania State University and her three years working at Oberlin College.
“I did a lot of event planning at Pennsylvania State, which I think was great preparation,” said Young. “There are several components of event planning and travel planning that are similar.”
She inherited an already-robust travel program, as Oberlin has sent alumni on tours since 1975. Young continues that tradition by helping to craft four major trips a year for its more-than 40,000 graduates.