Gary Salvner, Rick Shale to receive YSU Heritage Award

Gary Salvner and Rick Shale

Gary Salvner and Rick Shale, prominent retired faculty members in the English Department, receive the Youngstown State University Heritage Award at the annual Faculty Recognition Awards Dinner 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.

Also at the dinner, three dozen faculty members will receive Distinguished Professorship Awards and Excellence Awards.

Reservations for the dinner are required and will be limited to the first 300 guests. Reservation deadline is April 4. For more information, contact Mollie Hartup at 330-941-3086 or

The Heritage Award, started in 1981, recognizes former YSU faculty and professional/administrative staff that has made major contributions to the university during their years of service.

Salvner joined the YSU faculty in 1977 and was elected chair of the English Department in 1998, serving in that position until his retirement in 2012. He is the recipient of four Distinguished Professorship Awards, the Chair’s Leadership Award, the Watson Chair Award, and a Distinguished Student Service Award. He also was designated the Ohio College English Teacher of the Year in 1993.  In addition, he is the recipient of two national awards: the ALAN Award for “distinguished contributions to the field of young adult literature” and the Hipple Service Award, both by the Adolescent Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English. Salvner has served on numerous university, state, and national committees, including the NCTE Commission on Young Adult Literature.

But he’s best known for the YSU English Festival. A member of the committee that established the nationally-recognized program, Salvner has served the English Festival for its entire 40-year history, the last 24 years as either chair or co-chair. The Festival has brought more than 110,000 students to campus as well as 85 nationally and internationally recognized authors and scholars.

Rick Shale began his YSU career in 1976 as a part-time faculty member in the English Department and became a full-time instructor in 1979. The primary focus of his teaching was film study and screenwriting. From 1994 to 1999, he served as director of Graduate Studies in English and also a term as chair of YSU’s Graduate Council. From 1981 to 1997 he was a member of the adjunct faculty in the Department of Human Values in Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, now the Northeast Ohio Medical University.  He is the author of two local histories: Idora Park: The Last Ride of Summer (co-authored with Charles J. Jacques, Jr.) and Historic Mill Creek Park (co-authored with Carol Potter). He has also written Donald Duck Joins Up: The Walt Disney Studio During World War II and three books on the Academy Awards. In addition, he has written eight book chapters, dozens of newspaper articles, and has edited four books.

Shale is the recipient of three Distinguished Professor Awards, served on the selection committee for YSU’s Clarence P. Gould Honor Society and was actively involved with YSU’s Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 143, serving as a Phi Kappa Phi national officer. He also served as a commissioner for Mill Creek MetroParks and president of the Mahoning Valley Watercolor Society, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, as a trustee for the Benjamin Franklin Wirt Trust, and as an officer of the Boardman Historical Society.