Gift to ‘Jump Start’ YSU Center for Student Success

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Half of the $1 million contribution to Youngstown State University Monday will go toward establishing a center for student success.

The center, which would bring together various services designed to help students from matriculation to getting their first job after graduation, would connect Jones Hall and Maag Library, YSU President Jim Tressel said.

Joined by Tressel and representatives of the YSU Foundation, YSU alumna and Chaney High School graduate Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata announced her $1 million gift in Melnick Hall, the new home of the YSU Foundation.

The announcement was the first event in the refurbished building, which also houses WYSU-FM.

“This is groundbreaking, this is exciting and it couldn’t happen with a better person,” Tressel remarked.

“We are at a transitional point at the university,” Linsalata said. “President Tressel’s had great success, we’re attracting phenomenal students, and I thought the timing was just right.”

Linsalata, a former Canfield High School teacher who lives in Cleveland, grew up on the West Side and earned a baccalaureate in French and education and a master’s in business administration from YSU.

The vice chairwoman of the YSU Foundation is a professional fundraiser and community volunteer, “just following the passions that I have,” she said. “I feel fortunate to have that ability to do that now.”

Half of the $1 million will go toward a scholarship fund Linsalata established earlier to help Chaney graduates who want to attend YSU, which she described as “a strong regional university.” Every day, YSU is becoming more selective and more respected statewide, she said, and attracting more students from “way beyond Ohio’s boundaries.

“So to ensure that Youngstown State continues in its excellence, and distinction, my gift announced today will assist YSU students with scholarship money and will help what is currently called the Center for Student Success,” she continued.

Tressel envisions the new center linking Jones Hall, which he described as “the cornerstone” of the campus, with Maag Library, which he called the university’s “academic heartbeat,” to create a synergy and to establish one location where students can go for help on how to be successful.

“Getting students to come here and take advantage of the opportunity and helping their funding with scholarships is great,” the president stated, “but making sure they’re successful is really what it’s all about.”

The center is intended to bring together the agencies on campus that support students, YSU Foundation President Paul McFadden said. At the center, students would receive curriculum and career advice and mentoring, Linsalata said.

“The thing that I’ve always admired about Jocelyne is that she has a passion and an expectation for us to be extraordinary and raise the level of who we are and constantly reach for the stars,” Tressel said. “An impact person is a person who raises up everyone around them and Jocelyne certainly is an impact person.”

The center is still in the “visionary” stage but Linsalata “knows the importance of what we’re trying to put together,” Tressel said, “and wanted to help us jumpstart” the project.

“This vision is still coming together both in cost and in scope,” McFadden said.

“That’s kind of our dream,” Tressel added. “We’re still in the beginning-planning stages of it, but I’d like to think that dream will come true.”

Pictured: Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata announces her $1 million gift to YSU at a press event Monday.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.