Strategic Transitions Sustain Growth at YSU

By Allison Centofanti
YSU Associate Director, Communications

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Stepping into 2024, Youngstown State University is kicking off the year with new leadership and a new brand emphasizing a strong vision for the future of YSU. 2023 was a transformative period for the university, marked by substantial change and strategic shifts across campus.

On Jan. 22, Bill Johnson took office as YSU’s 10th president following the retirement of President Emeritus Jim Tressel.

Johnson looks forward to his new role, underscoring his passion for serving his community.

“It has been a huge honor to be considered and offered the job. It fits with my sense of service,” he says. “Service has been the mainstay of my career and I see that opportunity for service here at YSU.”

In alignment with strategic transition, the university unveiled a new brand, “Know Y,” meant to serve as both an answer and a question, encouraging a conversation, delving further into the community’s love for YSU and bridging a gap between generations with the same passion for the university. The Know Y brand is seen as a catalyst for curiosity, dialogue and exploration to encapsulate knowledge gained by YSU students in their academic pursuits.

These pursuits are what make YSU a cornerstone to the community. Founded in 1908, YSU remained steadfast through challenging periods of growth. One element that has always remained unwavering is its people. Students and faculty alike have shown time and time again their commitment and drive for knowledge, pouring their resources back into the community.

In the past year, many YSU professors and students garnered well deserved attention for their hard work, achieving extraordinary feats. Mechanical engineering student Jason Hess was announced as YSU’s first Truman Scholar, receiving the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders. A team of four students claimed a bronze medal at the 2023 Global Scaling Challenge; the YSU Concrete Canoe team, for the second time in program history, placed second overall at the national American Society of Civil Engineers annual competition. And for the first time in program history, the Penguin Steel Bridge team placed second overall at the national level.

Faculty-led research is paving the way for students to help develop 3D printed batteries used on the moon and Mars; implement a family healthy weight program known as Guin Fit; conduct research on the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and many others.

Much of this work is made possible through the $12,287,322 awarded to YSU in 2023, allocated among scholarships, grants, research and service funds. Funding from organizations such as the Ohio Department of Higher Education, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, NASA, CDC and Ohio Department of Development made these opportunities possible.

YSU also ventured into new territories, launching the graduate program master of science in data science and statistics to serve the growing need of data literacy in the workforce. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics proudly announced the opening of the Kordanovich Family Sports Medicine Center, a facility designed to provide patient-centered care for student athletes. 

As 2024 continues to unfold, YSU is only at the threshold of possibility. The anticipation for new opportunities, new ventures and new growth carries on into the new year, inspiring change and innovation for the campus community.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.