Education

The New YSU! Cole Tells Campus Stories

By Ron Cole, Youngstown State University’s public information officer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – There are parts of our jobs we enjoy, and other parts not so much. I’ve never necessarily enjoyed proofreading. It’s not that I hate it. I just find it’s filled with tediousness, and I admire those who see it otherwise. A good proofreader is gold. It’s just never been my forte.

But, I must say, one proofreading assignment I’m glad to do is looking over the Class Notes section of the YSU Magazine – where we write little snippets about the achievements of our alumni.

I’m always amazed by the variety of fantastic accomplishments, influential activities and wide-ranging talents of our nearly 100,000 graduates. It reminds me, in no uncertain terms, of the role YSU has played in the lives of so many people around the state, the region and the world, and the roles they play in the lives of their communities, their workplaces and their families.

For example, we’re working on the fall edition of the magazine now. We have a graduate who recently was named chairman of the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation, another named to the board of directors of an oil and gas company in Texas. There’s a grad who is the new executive vice president of Anthem and one who is the new director of patient care for Kaiser Permanente in California. Another is a senior analyst with the Bank of New York Mellon. We have two new college band directors, the new head basketball coach at Penn State Shenango, comic book authors, an award-winning music composer, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, a sergeant in the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Youngstown Teacher of the Year, a vice president for a company in California that is developing the first robotic cloud laboratory platform and two graduates featured in the New York Times for their new pirate-themed miniature golf course in Brooklyn.

The Office of Marketing and Communications at YSU is tasked with telling those stories, and we do that a lot of ways: through the magazine, our website, social media, the YSU News Center and on and on. There is, in fact, a story around every corner of the campus. It’s a joy discovering them, sharing them and spreading the good news about YSU.

One of those early stories, for me, was about Ray Beiersdorfer. Ray, who died Oct. 11 at the age of 61 after suffering a heart attack on campus, was a distinguished professor of geological and environmental sciences, a passionate environmentalist, a dedicated teacher and our very own nutty professor. I first met Ray shortly after he came to YSU and I was a fairly new reporter at The Vindicator. He had just won a national honor for teaching. I went into his classroom to observe.

Donning his signature Hawaiian shirt and long hippie beard, Ray was jumping on top of the desks, crawling under the desks, dancing, rapping and blasting his boom box. He was a trip. The students loved it. And I was privileged to tell his story.

Ray is missed, and the void he leaves will never quite be filled. He touched the lives of thousands of young people, most of whom have gone on to their own successes. We’ll be there to tell their stories, too.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.