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Hospital Executive Appointed to YSU Board of Trustees

Anita Hackstedde

Anita Hackstedde, president and chief executive officer of Salem Regional Medical Center, is the newest member of the YSU Board of Trustees.

A resident of Columbiana, Ohio, Hackstedde earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from YSU in 1990 and a medical degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1994. She served as director of Student Health at YSU from 1998 to 2006.

Gov. John Kasich appointed Hackstedde to the board to fill the unexpired term of James B. Greene, who died last year. Hackstedde’s term runs through April 30, 2021.

Covelli Keynote Speaker for Commencement

Sam Covelli

Sam Covelli, whose company is the world’s single largest franchisee of Panera Bread restaurants and employs more than 35,000 people, was keynote speaker for YSU’s Fall Commencement on Dec. 18 and received an honorary degree.

Covelli was also honored by the Williamson College of Business Administration as a recipient of the 2016 Medallion for Entrepreneurship from the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. He is one of four recipients nationwide selected for the Beta Gamma Sigma award.

A Warren resident, Covelli is owner/operator of Covelli Enterprises in Warren, which operates more than 275 Panera bread bakery-cafés in five states and Canada. He also operates five O’Charley’s Restaurants and nine Dairy Queen stores.

YSU’s Bond Rating Gets a+

Standard & Poor’s, one of the nation’s top credit-rating agencies, has upgraded YSU’s bond rating to A+, citing increased enrollment, a strong financial profile and solid management policies.

In addition, Moody’s Investors Services has reaffirmed YSU’s A2 rating, and both agencies have assigned the university a “stable outlook.”

“These ratings signify to investors that YSU represents a high quality investment with only moderate risk,” said Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations.

“But, just as important, the ratings reflect the hard work of many people on campus to begin to eliminate the university’s structural budgetary challenges and to establish long-term enrollment strategies.”

YSUpdate, YSU Magazine Win National Recognition

YSUpdate, YSU’s campus newsletter, won a Gold Award in the national Collegiate Advertising Awards program and a Silver Award from the Educational Advertising Awards, sponsored by the Higher Education Marketing Report.

Meanwhile, YSU Magazine received a Merit Award in the Educational Advertising Awards contest, as well as a Merit Award in the Service Industry Advertising Awards competition. Both publications were in competition with schools having enrollments of 10,000 to 20,000.

The Collegiate Advertising Awards is an elite program recognizing universities for excellence in communications, marketing, advertising and promotions. YSUpdate was selected from among 900 entries from the United States and Canada. The Gold Award designation recognizes newsletters in the top 5 percent nationally.

Student Marshalls

Student Marshals Selected in New Commencement Tradition

Seven graduates were chosen to represent each of the university’s seven colleges as Honorary Student Marshals at Fall Commencement, launching a new graduation tradition at YSU.

The Marshalls were selected based on high academic standing, campus leadership, involvement and overall good citizenship.

These are the first Honorary Student Marshals, listed with the college they represent:

  • College of Graduate Studies – Daniel Cesene of Hubbard, Ohio, doctorate in Education.
  • Williamson College of Business Administration – Corey J. Patrick of Struthers, Ohio, Financial Management major.
  • Beeghly College of Education – Allison English of East Liverpool, Ohio, Middle Childhood Education major.
  • College of Creative Arts and Communication – Aislinn Janek of Campbell, Ohio, Communications major.
  • Bitonte College of Health and Human Services – Wendell Parrish Jr. of Columbus, Ohio, a Nursing major.
  • College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences – Kayla Lucente of Struthers, Ohio, Political Science major.
  • College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – Amanda Dradt of London, Ohio, Biology major.

Board Awards President Tressel Contract Extension Through 2018

President Jim Tressel

President Jim Tressel will continue at YSU through June 2018 under a contract extension approved recently by the YSU Board of Trustees.

Carole Weimer, trustee chair, called Tressel “a tireless recruiter, advocate and cheerleader for the Mahoning Valley, for YSU and for our students.”

Tressel was named YSU’s ninth president in 2014 and his original contract would have run out this June. The new agreement also includes three separate additional one-year extension options that could extend the contract through June 2021. The pact includes no pay increase – his annual salary will remain at $300,000.

Under Tressel’s leadership, YSU’s enrollment is up for the first time in six years, and incoming freshmen have the highest standardized test scores and grade point averages in the university’s history. Residence halls are at capacity, and the university spearheaded a private development plan for the construction of a 382-bed apartment complex and a new Barnes & Noble student bookstore on the West Side of campus.

In addition, YSU approved its first operating budget in five years without a structural deficit, froze tuition to maintain its position as the most affordable public university in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, and raised a record $20.5 million in private gifts in fiscal year 2016, including a $1 million donation from Jim and Ellen Tressel.

New Wind Turbine

New on YSU Skyline: A Third Wind Turbine

There’s a new landmark on campus, and it’s hard to miss. A third wind turbine – this one more than 100-feet high with a large, hooded blade windmill – was installed last fall next to Melnick Hall at the corner of Wick Avenue and the Madison Avenue Expressway service road. Two smaller turbines were installed a year before at the same location as part of a federal research grant aimed at developing alternative energy resources. The YSU research, funded with grants totaling more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, focuses on the extraction of wind power in areas of low wind speed.

Exploring educational and business opportunities in Israel

Expanding partnerships in Asia, Exploring Opportunities in Israel

In two separate international ventures, YSU signed new partnership agreements with nearly a dozen Asian universities and explored a range of international opportunities in Israel.

The first YSU team visited China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan last fall, meeting with officials from 23 universities to discuss future academic collaborations, including student study abroad and faculty exchange agreements. “It was a busy and successful trip,” said Nathan Myers, YSU associate provost for International and Global Initiatives.

It was the second trip to China in 12 months for YSU representatives – the previous visit, in fall 2015, resulted in signed partnerships with five universities in China.
In January, a second delegation from YSU and the Youngstown Business Incubator spent seven days in Israel, exploring opportunities for student internships, faculty exchanges, research, industry partnerships and business connections.

Both trips were part of YSU’s effort to expand its international footprint and educational initiatives. YSU currently has 315 international students from more than 50 countries.

Wick Avenue Gets a Facelift

Construction crews continue work on a major reconstruction project on Wick Avenue, a main campus thoroughfare. The $4.9 million facelift is financed mostly by the city of Youngstown, with YSU and Youngstown CityScape both paying a portion of the cost. Besides aesthetic improvements such as new pavement, sidewalks and lighting, the project includes new water and sewer lines and underground electric lines that will eliminate unsightly utility poles. Lincoln Avenue improvements, including new pavement, sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs and parking meters, were completed in January. The Wick project will continue through fall.

Alumnus Honors Vietnam Hero with Room Naming

Alumnus Honors Vietnam Hero with Room Naming

Nearly a half-century after his YSU classmate Kenneth Nervie was killed in action in the Vietnam War, a retired business executive and alumnus has found a way to honor the memory of his friend.

YSU alum Gary Wuslich of South Bend, Ind., gave $25,000 to the YSU Veterans Resource Center and had a room named the Kenneth Nervie Student Office in memory of his classmate. “I thought Ken was an extraordinary person and that something should be done to remember him at YSU,” Wuslich said.

Nervie, who grew up in Youngstown and earned a YSU bachelor’s degree in 1967, was killed in action in Binh Duong, South Vietnam, a member of the Army’s 25th infantry division. He is one of four YSU alumni listed on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

In other veteran-related news, YSU was designated a Military Friendly university by GI Jobs magazine and named a “Best for Vets College 2017” by Military Times magazine. It is the ninth consecutive year that YSU has been awarded the Military Friendly designation. The Best for Vets ranking is based on the magazine’s school-by-school survey of veteran and military student offerings and rates of academic achievement.

Skeggs Lecture Series Speakers Scheduled

Margaret Atwood

YSU’s Skeggs Lecture Series will bring four exceptional speakers to Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, in the coming months. All the
lectures are free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Author Margaret Atwood, best known for her novels but also a poet and a writer of children’s literature and non-fiction, speaks at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21. Her most recent collection of short stories is titled Stone Mattress, and her latest novel is The Heart Goes Last.

Jeff Corwin

Skeggs speakers scheduled for the 2017-18 season are:

  • Jeff Corwin, host of the Emmy Award-winning wildlife adventure series “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin,” will speak at 7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 4. A leading environmental journalist, Corwin is a special science and environmental correspondent for NBC News.
Mark & Gabby Giffords
  • Gabby Giffords, a former United States Congresswoman, and her husband, Mark Kelly, will share their story of hope and courage in the wake of tragedy at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Giffords was severely injured in a 2011 assassination attempt; Kelly is a retired astronaut and U.S. Navy captain.

Ben Stein
  • Ben Stein, an actor, author, economist and pop culture icon, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Known for his acting role in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” he has written or co-written 30 books, writes a column for the New York Times and is a commentator for CBS Sunday Morning and FOX News.

The Skeggs Lecture Series was established in 1966 in memory of the late Leonard T. Skeggs Sr., who served as general secretary of the Youngstown YMCA until his death in 1933. It was Skeggs who encouraged Howard W. Jones to become the first president of the university.

Tickets to all four lectures are free and can be ordered online at

In Memoriam: William J. Lyden

William “Bill” J. Lyden, a member of the YSU Board of Trustees from 1975-89 who served as chair in 1977-78, died August 17, 2016, in Salem, Ohio, at the age of 86. He was an avid Penguin fan and supporter of the university.

An electrician, he served as business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 64 for more than 20 years and served as president of the Western Reserve Building Council from 1972 until his retirement in 1992.