YSU Hires STEM Dean, Advances Housing Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Board of Trustees of Youngstown State University Wednesday hired Wim F.A. Steelant, vice president of research and dean of science at St. Thomas University in Florida, as the new dean of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The trustees did so at their quarterly meeting.

He succeeds Martin Abraham, who was named YSU provost in October 2014. Gregg Sturrus, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has served as interim dean. He will start March 16,

Steelant earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Lieven College in Belgium in 1992, a master’s of chemical engineering from West-Brabant College in The Netherlands in 1993 and a doctorate in biomedicine/biochemistry from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands in 2000. He did post-doctoral work at the University of Washington in Seattle.

He joined the chemistry faculty of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2002 and became chair of the department in 2008. Three years later, he was named the founding dean of Science in the School of Science, Technology and Engineering Management at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla. In 2014, he was named founding vice president of research at the school.

Both Abraham and Dr. Joseph Mosca, dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services and chairman of the search committee, praised Steelant’s “interdisciplinary background.”

Abraham, in a news release announcing the appointment, said Steelant’s background aligns “perfectly with the approach that we’ve taken with STEM College.”

Mosca characterized the new STEM dean as “very enthusiastic” and student-focused with “a good sense of collaboration” during a committee meeting prior to the formal trustees meeting.

During the meeting, trustees also authorized leasing land for the development of a proposed $10 million retail/student apartment complex on Fifth Avenue at Lincoln Avenue. LRC Realty of Akron would build the complex, which would include retail stores and 163 student-housing beds. An opening is projected for fall semester 2017.

Today’s authorization allows the administration to enter into discussions with LRC for the ground lease, YSU President Jim Tressel said. YSU must now take the resolution to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services for approval to move forward.

The proposed development is second public-private campus development approved by YSU this year. In October, ground was broken for a 162-bed student apartment building along Rayen Avenue between Fifth and Belmont avenues. That project, led by Hallmark Campus Communities of Columbus, is expected to be open for the start of fall semester 2016.

“Over the course of the next several years, we anticipate increased demand for apartment-style student housing as YSU continues to evolve and grow,” Tressel said in the YSU news release. “We look forward to working with LRC to make this a premier site on an important gateway to the campus.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.