The Yardleys have three CMU degrees between them, and Mary Lu served the university in 12 different positions over her 35-year career, finishing as CMU's executive director of alumni relations.
During Mary Lu's university career, the Yardleys enjoyed relationships with a number of areas across campus, but one relationship seemed to stand out above the rest.
"Athletics has always been a program that we've participated in as far as going to the activities and John is an avid, avid sports fan especially football," Mary Lu said. "So we give money to other places besides athletics, but athletics is probably at the top of our priorities."
In addition to being long-time Chippewa Club Members, John and Mary Lu are charter members of the 1100 Club and the Women's Basketball Chippewa Champion program.
Chippewa athletics and the CMU Alumni Association share a strong, reciprocal relationship today as the two organizations partner on a number of initiatives.
Mary Lu said this has not always been the case.
She said when she began her work in alumni relations that the Chippewa Athletic Fund and the Alumni Association would host separate events at away football games.
"It just didn't make sense," she said.
The relationship between the Alumni Association and athletics is just one of the many positive changes that the Yardleys have witnessed at CMU during their time in Mount Pleasant.
Mary Lu said that the upgrade in facilities from the days of Finch Fieldhouse and the Alumni Fields is nothing short of incredible and that the bar for the caliber of student-athlete that is recruited to CMU is raised with each new class.
Since coming to Mount Pleasant in 1967, the Yardleys have enjoyed four and a half decades of Chippewa athletics and a lifetime's worth of memories.
As a die-hard CMU football fan, John's favorite memory was witnessing the Chippewas' successful run to the 1974 Division II National Championship.
Like John, one of Mary Lu's favorite memories was also tied to CMU football, albeit 30 years later.
She said that in the summer of 2006, the alumni directors from each Mid-American Conference school gathered in Detroit for an annual conference.
Mary Lu said that she and her counterpart Vicki Reaume from Eastern Michigan were listening to a presentation about that year's MAC Championship game.
She said that when Vicki asked a question about the date of the game, the alumni director from Miami chimed in.
"He spoke up and said, 'Why are you and Mary Lu concerned about the date? You're never going to be there,'" she said. "Then the director from Northern Illinois laughed and said, 'I was going to say the same thing.'"
The Chippewas went on to win the MAC Championship in 2006 and repeated the feat in 2007 with a victory over-quite fittingly-the Miami University Redhawks.
While Mary Lu spent much of her professional career reaching out to CMU graduates, today, through their contributions to the Chippewa Athletic Fund, she and John have an indelible impact on future alumni.
On behalf of the over 400 CMU student-athletes, we would like to thank John and Mary Lu Yardley for their outstanding commitment to Chippewa Athletics through their contributions to the Chippewa Athletic Fund.