YSU Enters Public Phase of $100M Capital Campaign

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University announced the public phase of its $100 capital campaign, “We See Tomorrow,” Thursday afternoon in the Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata room of Williamson Hall.

Linsalata, who earned a baccalaureate in foreign languages and later an MBA at YSU, is chairwoman of the ambitious effort to raise the remaining $48.3 million sought.

She, YSU President Jim Tressel and YSU Foundation President Paul McFadden presided at the dinner last night at Stambaugh Auditorium for 100 or so alumni and community leaders. Recognized were some of the benefactors of the university during the first three years of the quiet phase of the capital campaign. The dinner officially kicked off the public phase.

A $1.1 million gift from Dr. Chander M. and Karen Kohli pushed the campaign to 51.7% of its goal, Linsalata said. Dr. Kohli, a former vice chairman of the YSU Board of Trustees, is a neurosurgeon and member of the campaign cabinet.

The largest gift to date is the $2.5 million from Morris and Phyllis Friedman, Tressel said, which allowed YSU to endow the chair in engineering held by Eric MacDonald, professor of additive manufacturing.

The Friedmans have given $1.5 million and are committed to another $1 million, the president said.

Linsalata’s hope is to announce a year hence that the campaign has reached 72% of its goal, she said after her meeting with the press. Capital campaigns tend to run six or seven years, the first half “the quiet phase,” she and Tressel noted, when donations and firm pledges reach 50%.

Making the campaign necessary, Tressel noted, are reduced levels of federal and state funding, which he described as “flat at best. … Higher education is at the most challenging moment in its history, financially.”

The capital campaign lists eight components:

  • Student Success Center, $12 million.
  • Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center, $14 million.
  • Scholarships and student work opportunities, $20 million.
  • Endowed chairs and professorships, $15 million.
  • Campus beautification, $10 million.
  • Classrooms of the future, $5 million.
  • Rich Center for Autism, $4 million.
  • Annual Fund, $20 million.

Student success efforts, spread over 40 sites on the YSU campus, would be consolidated in Jones Hall, Tressel said. This aspect would link Jones Hall with Maag Library via a closed pedestrian bridge, the campaign brochure says.

Among the components of furthering student success are tutoring, academic advising, the teaching of reading and study-habit skills, career services, mentoring, counseling and mental health support.

Career services and mental health services are in Jones Hall.

The commercialization center, the 20,000-square-foot former misdemeanant jail at Fifth Avenue and Commerce Street, is undergoing renovation and could expand to 80,000 to 100,000 square feet, Tressel said, and occupy the two acres YSU acquired from the county.

The center is designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in STEM disciplines, the humanities and arts.

The Rich Autism Center would expand to serve 150 students from the 82 it works with today, Tressel said.

Increase the funding for scholarships and student jobs on campus is a must, said Ellen Tressel, a member of the campaign cabinet. “Students who work on campus tend to do better” academically and after graduation, she said. Between 12% and 13% of YSU students are paid for work they do on campus. The goal is 16% to 17%, she said.

During the press event, Jim Tressel spent time on university ambitions for campus beautification, noting that this morning Wick Avenue would be reopened to traffic. He hopes to see Lincoln and Fifth avenues given similar treatments – such as burying the utility wires – and, as the campaign brochure put it, “the recreation area just north of Kilcawley Center will receive a much-needed facelift that will likely include a café or other student amenities.”

Pictured at top: YSU President Jim Tressel points to Mitchell Joseph, a contributor to the capital campaign and president of the company that’s building the chill-can complex on the city’s East Side, while Betty Jo Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration, and Ellen Tressel look on.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.