‘We See Tomorrow’ Carries On with New $125M Goal

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After surpassing its initial $100 million goal 18 months ahead of schedule, the Youngstown State University Foundation is extending its We See Tomorrow capital fundraising campaign to June 2021 and setting a new $125 million goal.

Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata, campaign chairwoman and YSU Foundation trustee, made the announcement Wednesday morning at the YSU Foundation on Wick Avenue.

“With the support of our friends and our alums, both near and far, we’re confident that our new goal of $125 million will be achieved,” Linsalata announced Wednesday morning at the YSU Foundation. “We send deep gratitude to the 27,000 donors and look forward to meeting 27,000 more.”

The foundation has raised $101,545,757 as of Wednesday, Linsalata said, and was pushed over its initial $100 million by a $1.5 million donation from Eleanor Watanakunakorn in December to establish a biomedical research lab.

The We See Tomorrow campaign has focused donations toward four specific initiatives:

  • Student financial support, including scholarships and student work opportunities.
  • Faculty enrichment, including endowed faculty chairs and professorships.
  • The Campus of Tomorrow project, including Classrooms of the Future, the Excellence Training Center, campus beautification and the Success Imagination Center or “Think Box.”
  • Collaborative opportunities, including medical professions, the arts and the Rich Center for Autism.

According to the YSU Foundation, classrooms of the future will be implemented into each of YSU’s six colleges. To expand beyond paper-based learning, increase enrollment through online classes and to allow students to revisit previous lectures, students and faculty members will have access to Cisco Spark stations, the website reports. The funding goal for the classrooms is set at $5 million.

“When some of us were going to school, there was a chalkboard and some seats,” said YSU President Jim Tressel. “Now there are computers, laboratories and 3D printing. Our students are what it’s all about.”

Funds from the We See Tomorrow campaign will allow for new learning opportunities at YSU and abroad, says President Jim Tressel.

Colleges are continuously evolving, Tressel said, and YSU is no different. In the Campus of Tomorrow initiative, technology will be incorporated to allow for more opportunities for students to learn from people on the other side of the world.

“We have students going all over the world learning from people,” Tressel said. “Having those opportunities come from some of these endowed chairs and professorships, and we need to continue for that to be a target initiative.”

The $14 million Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center, where students can work on projects alongside business leaders, artists and engineers, is set to break ground in the spring and construction is expected to take 11 months. YSU will partner with Eastern Gateway Community College, area career and technical centers, the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and businesses on the project.

“It’s fun going around the country talking to our graduates who are proud when they come back to campus,” Tressel said. “First they say, ‘We didn’t have any of this,’ but they’re proud their university has grown to look like this, feel like this, to provide opportunities like this. They like bringing their grandchildren back or their children.”

Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata, YSU Foundation
trustee and We See Tomorrow capital campaign chairwoman.

In all, out of the 27,000 donations accumulated toward the campaign, 32 were of $1 million or more and 39 were of $100,000 or more from out-of-town donors, Linsalata said. It’s thrilling when donors, who’ve never met before, have a reason to give to the university, she said.

“We have progressed and have become that shining light that this entire region can build around. And because of this campaign, we’re going to have the opportunity to do our part,” Tressel said. “We’re going to continue to make sure we do see tomorrow and make a difference.”

Million-plus donations that went toward the campaign include $12 million for the new Student Success Center, $20 million for scholarships and student work opportunities, $15 million for endowed chairs and professorships, $10 million for campus beautification, $5 million for Classrooms of the Future, $4 million for the Rich Center for Autism and $20 million for the YSU annual fund.

“It shows that many people believe in Youngstown,” she said. “One gentleman, on his father’s passing, he endowed a very generous share in his father’s memory. We have people realize that a certain professor, a certain department, really helped them shape their life and they’re grateful for that.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.