YSU names Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication

Youngstown State University today named its College of Creative Arts and Communication in honor of the parents of the late Earle Wayne Cliffe Jr., a Youngstown native who later worked for Hughes Aircraft and in the real estate business in California.

Mr. Cliffe died last year at the age of 94, leaving a $1.3 million gift to YSU.

“Mr. Cliffe never forgot his Youngstown roots; now his name will be forever remembered through the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “We thank Mr. Cliffe and his family for their support, and we’re honored to have the Cliffe name memorialized on our campus.”

The Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication at YSU offers seven degrees in nearly 40 fields of study via the Dana School of Music and the departments of Art, Communication and Theater/Dance. The college, boasting facilities that include Ford Theater and the McDonough Museum of Art, puts on more than 400 events annually, including musical concerts, art exhibits, major theatrical productions, dance ensembles and the Summer Festival of the Arts.

“Our sincere thanks to the Cliffe family for this generous gift and for its continued support of the college,” said Phyllis Paul, dean. “We are proud - Y and proud - to have the Cliffe Family name prominently associated with the college, our outstanding students, our talented faculty and our successful alumni.”

Cliffe grew up in Youngstown, attended First Presbyterian Church and graduated from The Rayen School in 1941. During World War II, he first served as an Army medic in European Theater. With the assistance of the GI bill, Cliffe graduated from Wooster College with a degree in Spanish. He then ventured to California, where he was the personnel director for Hughes Aircraft before becoming a realtor and settling in San Clemente and Hollywood.

“One word that described Wayne was debonair,” his obituary reads. “He was the coolest 94-year-old alive, right up there with Stan Lee, and as sleek as Cary Grant.”

The naming is in honor of Wayne Cliffe’s parents, Dr. Earle W. & Ida Cliffe. Dr. Earle Wayne Cliffe Sr. was a prominent Youngstown area physician, where he practiced for 20 years prior to his death in 1939.  His legacy at St. Elizabeth Hospital was, at the time, the largest number of home maternity deliveries in the area. Ida was a nurse, and they raised their two sons, Charles and Wayne, on the north side of Youngstown. Dr. Cliffe served the country in the medical corps in World War I.  Wayne provided the gift for this naming to express his love and appreciation for his parents. 

The gift is part of the $100 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign, the largest in YSU history. The campaign is spearheaded by the YSU Foundation, the official fundraising arm of YSU. For more information on the campaign, visit www.ysufoundation.org.