“Through the student government and an education in history, CBU introduced me to opportunities for leadership, understanding, and guts when facing a challenge. I learned to use education to serve my community, to do my homework on the issues so I can be effective when standing with people who are marginalized.”

Marly Hazen Ynigues came to CBU as a product of Memphis Catholic schools and graduate of Saint Agnes Academy. Majoring in History, she was very active in her sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau, the Honors Program, Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta History honor society, and was elected to the Student Government Association Senate. She also served as co-editor of the Loquemur journal for the Honors Program.

“Two of my closest CBU communities were Alpha Sigma Tau and the CBU Honors Program,” Marly recalls. “So, one memory that stands out is when I joined my sorority’s ‘Lucky Clovers’ team to play in the Battle of the Brains through Dr. Tracie Burke’s Honors Program. It might seem trivial, but swapping knowledge and laughs kept us ‘CBUnited!’”

After graduating from CBU in 2008 with her BA in History, Marly continued her studies in the graduate program at the University of Memphis. While working on her master’s degree, she took a job with CTSI-Global, an international logistics technology company headquartered in Memphis, as its Webmaster. She also served on the Christian Brothers University National Alumni Board from 2011 to 2014. She completed her MA in History in 2014, publishing her thesis entitled “Pine Mountain: Community at the Crossroads of Appalachia.” Her historical studies of Appalachia coincided with her move to West Virginia, adding Social Media Manager to her duties at CTSI-Global in 2014. She became Director of Global Marketing in 2016 and was elected to the City Council of Elkins, WV in 2017. While in Elkins, she also served on the Board of Directors of Elkins Main Street, a city-funded nonprofit that promotes private and corporate partnerships to preserve history and enhance the cultural environment, and Generation Randolph, a nonprofit dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young talent in the area.

Marly was promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing at CTSI-Global in 2019, and she also relocated to Morgantown, WV to be near her fiancé, Keola Ynigues. They married in 2020. She has remained active in public service as a Mountain Line Transit Authority Commissioner (which was named 2021-22 Nonprofit of the Year by the Morgantown Area Partnership) and also served on the Woodburn School Redevelopment Commission. Marly currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Monongalia Arts Center; as Social Justice Chair of the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County; and as Communications, Press, and Publicity Chair of the Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP.

This past winter, Marly was among the founders of a grassroots organization called Morgantown RAMP which was created to provide warmth to those who needed it in the community. “I helped provide transport to my county’s only warming shelter, contributed to cooking and mutual aid, began facilitating forums on local social services, and advocated for more inclusive conditions. CBU was my college home, and now I’m fighting to help others find a warm place to call home.”

On the lighter side, Marly will also be releasing a book this year. Entitled Christmas Eve in the Mountain State, it is a playfully illustrated storybook packed with West Virginia puns.

CBU’s concern for the poor and social justice makes me proud to be a Buccaneer. It’s easy to be kind, but it takes courage to take risks to create a more just world. As an alumna, I’m heartened to see more recent CBU collaborations like September of Service and CBU DREAMers demonstrating the university’s commitment to solidarity with our community.