Macte Virtute

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Embracing YSU’s Role as an Institution of Influence in the Community

James P. Tressel

There was a particular day in April, the first Saturday of the month, that spoke volumes about what Youngstown State University means to the Mahoning Valley.

On that single early-spring day, students, their parents and siblings flocked to the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center for Family Day. High school students from around the region were on campus for the annual History Day competition. Nearly 40 students performed in the YSU Dance Ensemble concert in Bliss Hall. Kilcawley Center was the site of “Penguins Against Drug Abuse,” a student-led community seminar addressing the region’s drug abuse epidemic. And, down at the Williamson College of Business Administration, students helped complete tax returns as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. On top of all that, YSU fraternities and sororities danced and sang the night away at the annual Greek Sing concert, the Ward Beecher Planetarium debuted a new show, the softball team and the men’s lacrosse club had games.

It was a busy, but quite frankly, not all that atypical spring Saturday on campus.

Of course, our top priority is, and always will be, the academic and professional success of our students. It’s at our historical core, and the metrics continue on an upward trend (read more on Page 23).

At the same time, we recognize and celebrate our role as an institution of influence in our community. We do that by offering an array of performances, competitions, athletics events, lectures, seminars and other recreational, cultural and intellectual activities for tens of thousands of people – young and old – from across the region, state and nation. It is a role we embrace and hold as an important part of our mission and community outreach.

There may be no better example of that outreach than the YSU English Festival, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and is the subject of our cover story in this issue of YSU Magazine. Over that time, more than 100,000 young people have read about three-quarters of a million books as part of the Festival. In this issue, starting on Page 4, we share the stories of an event whose impact is incalculable.

This issue of YSU Magazine is also the last with Cindy Vinarsky Hixenbaugh as editor – she’s retiring from YSU on May 31. In her decade at the university, Cindy has grown our alumni magazine into a nationally-recognized, peer-awarded and alumni-proud publication. Our thanks, Cindy, and our best wishes in your retirement.

Go Penguins,

Tressel Signature

James P. Tressel, President