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IUP in the People’s House

Two current members of the U.S. House of Representatives are IUP alumni, and both were students in the College of Business when it was in McElhaney Hall. Jim Renacci (above, at right) majored in Business Administration and, soon after graduating in 1980, became a Certified Public Accountant. Mark Critz ’87 (left) earned a degree in Management Information Systems.

Renacci grew up in Monongahela, Pa., but has lived in Ohio nearly thirty years. Early in his career, he worked as an accountant in the health care industry but in 1985 formed LTC Management Services—a company that owned, operated, and managed nursing facilities throughout Ohio. According to his official biography, businesses with which Renacci was involved over three decades created more than 1,500 jobs and employed more than 3,000 people.

Jim Renacci and Mark Critz

Jim Renacci ’80 (left) and Mark Critz ’87

Renacci’s record of public service began as a volunteer firefighter. He served on the Wadsworth, Ohio, Board of Zoning Appeals and logged two terms as president of Wadsworth’s City Council. In 2004, he was elected Wadsworth’s mayor and is proud of his record of balancing the city’s $80-million budget and converting its multimillion-dollar deficit to a surplus—all without raising taxes.

Last November, Renacci ran as a Republican and was elected to the 112th Congress from Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. He and his wife, Tina, have been married twenty-eight years.

“I have been blessed,” Renacci said, “with some great opportunities in life—from raising three children (including twins) with my wife to owning, operating, and investing in over sixty companies throughout the country. Today, I am honored to serve in Congress, where I have the unique opportunity to help serve the community in which I live.

“Though many years have passed since I graduated from IUP and left my roots in Western Pennsylvania, the values I adopted and lessons I learned during those years of my life have guided me in all that I have done since. I cherish those memories and remain deeply grateful for the education I received at IUP that helped launch my professional career and life journey.”

Critz met his wife, Nancy Knox Critz ’87, M’01 at IUP. They, too, are parents of twins.

Critz was born and raised in Irwin, Pa., and graduated from Norwin High School. As district director and economic development director for the late Congressman John Murtha, he saw a lot of history—responding to the Quecreek Mine disaster and serving as the congressman’s liaison for the Flight 93 Memorial.

Critz has received the National Guard’s highest civilian award—the Patrick Henry Award. It recognizes local officials and civic leaders who have rendered outstanding and exceptional service to the U.S. Armed Forces. He is also a member of the Johnstown Old Timers Baseball Association, which puts on the city’s annual AAABA tournament.

After Murtha’s death in February 2010, Critz sought the 12th Congressional District seat. He defeated a fellow IUP alumnus, Republican Tim Burns ’90, in both a special election in May 2010 and in the general election last fall.

That national impact includes the fact that two of the university’s alumni—one Republican and one Democrat, one Ohioan and one Pennsylvanian—serve together under the U.S. Capitol dome.

“IUP has changed dramatically since I was a student,” Critz said, “and every time I get the opportunity to visit, I’m delighted and proud of the progress that’s being made. Enrollment is at an all-time high, new facilities are being constructed, and students from all over the country and across the globe are coming to IUP because of its solid reputation for high-quality education.

“The university is no longer a place where students from just Western Pennsylvania go to college. In fact, I’ve run into IUP graduates all over the country, which shows the national impact the university has had.”