Director of Student Engagement and Leadership
“An Engaging Person Leading Student Engagement”
Danae Glanton grew up in Ohio as the middle child between an older brother and a younger sister. She learned from a young age the importance of higher education from her parents. Her father, a first-generation immigrant from Ukraine, became a U.S. citizen as an adult. Through that experience, her father’s side of the family put much emphasis on getting a degree because those opportunities had not been available for generations past.
Eager to escape the chilly winters of Ohio, Glanton focused her collegiate search southward, eventually deciding on Campbell University in the little town of Buies Creek, North Carolina.
“I moved 12 hours away to go to college my first year. It was such an eye-opening experience. And that’s when I fell in love with the South, and I ended up staying,” said Glanton.
At Campbell University, Glanton played on the Women’s Soccer team but later transferred to Pfeiffer University to complete her B.S. in Exercise Science. She also has a graduate degree, M.Ed. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Outdoor Education Administration, from Georgia College and State University.
Glanton and her husband Thomas have been married for five years now, weathering some significant challenges that maybe they didn’t expect as newlyweds. The couple live in Elijay, Georgia with their three loveable dogs, two German Shepherds named Zaydee and Freya plus an Australian Shephard named MacKaye. Glanton and her husband were married in 2016 and lived in separate places two hours apart for a few years due to working in different places.
Prior to her starting date at Life U in August 2020, Glanton had spent 10 years working for Young Harris College in North Georgia. She was instrumental in her initial dual role of running outdoor programs, as well as teaching in their Outdoor Leadership program before becoming a full faculty member completely devoted to Outdoor Leadership. In that role, Glanton taught experiential learning classes and leadership theory classes, as well as technical skills classes such as rock-climbing and backpacking.
Though she loved her time at Young Harris College, Glanton eventually resigned to have more time with her husband. She accepted a Store Manager position at a bridal salon near Hartwell, Georgia where her husband lived.
Thomas Glanton currently works as a teacher and wrestling coach at a public school in Elijay. Prior to landing his present teaching role, he had to search for new employment due to COVID-19 related budget cuts. Once he found a suitable position in Elijay, Glanton’s job hunt began again, because working at the bridal salon made little sense at that point. And in the midst of that search, Glanton learned more about Life U and its mission, finding that the culture of Life U lined up well with her own belief systems.
“I really value the University’s mission of ‘Lasting Purpose: to give, to do, to love, to serve—out of your own abundance’. I think that is very much in alignment with my own life mission. So, when I read that, [Life U] just felt like something that I wanted to be a part of and contribute to,” explained Glanton.
When Glanton first came to Life U, she served as the Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness, focusing the majority of her energy toward safely reopening the newly renovated Life University Fitness Center in the midst of COVID-19 health precautions. Similarly, she oversaw the safe reintroduction of Intramural Sports and other in-person events.
“Working with students and working in this setting is a really neat and interesting opportunity to make impactful experiences for students and just walk with them in their journey,” remarked Glanton.
Due to some interdepartmental reorganization, Glanton’s role shifted some, so she is now Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, but she still “wears a lot of hats.” In general, that title still encompasses all things Campus Recreation and Wellness as well as the added responsibility of Campus Activities. Assistant Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness Ryan Tubbs and other staff assist Glanton in keeping the Fitness Center, Intramural programs and wellness resources running smoothly.
In regard to Campus Activities, that refers to student organizations, clubs, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and leadership activities. Coordinator of Campus Activities and Engagement Patrick Reeves and other staff assist Glanton in these vital aspects of student life at Life U.
When asked what advice she would give to the Life U community, Glanton was quick to encourage students to find something worthwhile to get involved in.
“Take the opportunity, go to the lecture, go to the workshop, meet the people; because you never know where that one little moment could forever change the trajectory of your life,” said Glanton. “I would not be doing what I am doing or be where I am today if it wasn’t for those little moments, little nuggets where I got exposed to people outside of my discipline that led me to awareness of all these other opportunities.”
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