Hu Named New Endowed Chair of Economics at YSU

Editor’s note: The headline of this story has been updated to better reflect Hu’s position. He was named to an endowed faculty chair position, not chairman of the economics department.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University has named Ou Hu as the inaugural Paul J. Thomas Chair in Economics, adding another achievement to the professor’s 16-year career at the university.

“Dr. Hu is one of the university’s most respected scholars and teachers and is much deserving of this tremendous honor,” said Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration at YSU, in a statement. “We are most grateful to Mr. Thomas’ daughters, Gwen Watson and Janet Shanklin, for their continued investment in YSU.”

The $1.5 million gift from Thomas’ daughters was made in 2018.

Hu has been a faculty member at Youngstown State since 2004 after earning an undergraduate degree from Beijing Technology and Business University and a master’s and doctorate in economics from West Virginia University. 

Over the course of his career, Hu has been published nearly 20 times and delivered 20 scholarly presentations. He has received four research professorships at YSU and received the Distinguished Professorship Award in Scholarship in the 2014-15 school year.

Hu also led the creation of Joint SAS certificate programs, the Chartered Financial Analyst University Recognition program and the the new interdisciplinary certificate program in data analytics.

With his new position, Hu plans on expanding his research and creating workshops and a speaker series on behavioral finance and economics.

“My sincerest gratitude to the Thomas family for the establishment of the endowed chair position,” Hu said. “With great privilege comes great responsibilities. While this position offers a unique and remarkable opportunity to advance my pursuit of research, more importantly it urges me to think what I can do support our academic programs and opportunities at YSU.”

A native of Niles, Paul Thomas was the vice president of Superior Industries and vice president of Easco Corp. He was also on the board of Ohio Bank Corp., McKinley Bank and WKBN Television and served as a trustee for The Butler Institute of American Art, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. and the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County. 

In 1981, Thomas and his wife, Marguerite, established the Thomas Colloquium on Free Enterprise. They also established scholarships for students in Youngstown State’s accounting, finance and economics programs. 

YSU now has 13 endowed faculty positions, which combine a traditional faculty position with enhance funded by the interested on principal on the initial gift to the university. Such positions have been a major part of the university’s $120 million We See Tomorrow fundraising campaign.

Pictured: Ou Hu, center, was named the inaugural Thomas Chair in Economics at Youngstown State University Monday. He is joined by YSU provost Brien Smith and Williamson College of Business Administration dean Betty Jo Licata.

Source/Image: YSU

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.