David and Helga Ives Endowment refocused to support YSU English Festival

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Terry Benton, English Festival committee member; Nikki Erickson, English Festival committee member; Scott Schulick, trustee for the Ives Estate; Gary Salvner, English Festival committee member; Jeff Buchanan, English Festival committee member; Angela Messenger, English Festival committee member; and Jackie Mercer, English Festival committee member.

Upon the passing of Helga Ives in September 2015, an endowment was created at the YSU Foundation to support Italian Studies at YSU. Since that time the focus of the endowment has changed due to demographic and programmatic changes at the University. Now in October 2023, it will again be refocused and will be renamed the David and Helga Ives English Festival Endowment.

The YSU English Festival originated in the fall of 1978 when Thomas Gay and Carol Gay of YSU’s English department established a memorial fund in memory of their daughter, Candace McIntyre Gay, who died in 1977. The festival is a three-day program of activities that honor literature, writing, poetry and the arts. The festival is held on the YSU campus each spring and is attended by local middle school and high school students.

Scott Schulick and Mark Makoski, as co-trustees of the David and Helga Ives estate said, “The Ives story, is one full of history and worldly experiences. As trustees, responsible for representing their interests, we are pleased that this endowment now finds itself in support of youth, reading, education and a program that Helga had great fondness for.”

Schulick went further to say, "With the change of focus of the Ives Endowment to the English Festival honoring Helga and David, we hope that other donors will be encouraged to help grow the English Festival Endowment to keep the festival alive for generations to come."

David and Helga Ives were beloved by many across the community and around the world. David Ives was a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and Case Western Reserve University, with further studies at the University of Chicago. He was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Army Air Forces, serving in WWII, chiefly as an intelligence officer, and retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1969. During WWII, he met Helga de Agostini, who was born on the Italian Istrian Peninsula. Helga was a graduate of the University of Naples Federico II with a degree in the sciences and was enrolled in medical school when Nazi Germany took her as a prisoner of war. They were married on Helga’s birthday in Foggia, Italy on March 17, 1946, before returning to the States. They resided in Youngstown, Ohio where David accepted a position as associate professor of Classical Studies with an emphasis on Latin and Greek at then Youngstown College. He served from 1947-1984. He was the chairman of the ancient languages department and an original member of the Academic Senate. In the 1950s he revised and edited the University catalog and produced the first accurate map of campus for inclusion in the catalog, which he revised for use until 1966. Additionally, he was a charter member and twice president of the American Association of University Professors.

"David and Helga Ives loved books and valued learning, both of which are at the center of the English Festival's aims. The Ives' legacy will remain alive as the English Festival continues to celebrate and encourage reading and writing among young people," said Gary Salvner, Festival co-chair and professor emeritus of English.

The current market value of the David and Helga Ives endowment is $893,979. It will be providing the English Festival with more than $32,000 in annual funding moving forward. This academic year, the 46th YSU English Festival is scheduled for April 17, 18, and 19, 2024.