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Winter 2009



Cover A Chinese woman models a traditional costume from China’s Qing Dynasty in this photograph, taken by a student during a three-week study tour of China in summer 2008. The photo is among many featured in Summer Art In China, a fullcolor 96-page book produced by students from YSU and William Paterson University to document their first impressions of contemporary China. See page 4 to learn about academic connections YSU is cultivating in China and Taiwan. ———————————

YSU President

David C. Sweet

Vice President for University Advancement

George McCloud

Executive Director of Marketing & Communications

Mark Van Tilburg

Director of University Communications

Magazine Editor

Graphic Artist

Ron Cole

Cynthia Vinarsky Renée Cannon, ’90


Bruce Palmer Carl Leet

Graduate Assistant

Britta Snowberger, ’08

Sports Contributor

Trevor Parks

Assistant Director

Jean Engle, ’86

Chief Development Officer

Paul McFadden, ’84

Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Events Mangaement

Shannon Tirone, ’94

YSU Board of Trustees Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary Student Trustees

Scott R. Schulick Larry DeJane Millicent Counts Sudershan K. Garg Harry Meshel Dianne Bitonte Miladore John L. Pogue H.S. Wang Carole S. Weimer Franklin S. Bennett Jr. Stephen W. T. Foley Daniel J. DeMaiolo

Youngstown State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. YSU Magazine is published twice a year by the Office of Marketing and Communications at Youngstown State University. Any comments or questions should be directed to Marketing and Communications, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555. Call 330-941-3519 or e-mail for more information. Youngstown State University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or identity as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, in respect to students and/or to applicants for employment, and to organizations providing contractual services to YSU. 8-001

Winter 2009 IN


issue THIS


Links to China Forging relationships in China and Taiwan.

Around Campus Updates on campus news and events.

12 Patricia Sweet A visit with YSU’s first lady.

14 Phil Brady -

English professor wins major honor for his poetry.


Alumni Spotlight We highlight three exceptional YSU alumni.

DEPARTMENTS 2 3 15 16 18 20

President’s Message Letters YSU Foundation Sports News Alumni News University Development 24 Class Notes

Snow- covered campus

Huddled in a parka on a cold, wintry morning, a YSU student passes Maag Library on her way to class.

Winter 2009


President’s Message

New Mission:

Expanding Beyond YSU’s Regional Focus

David C. Sweet, President


During this past year, Youngstown State University celebrated our Centennial anniversary, and our evolution from a small private college to a comprehensive public university. At the same time, we took significant steps to set our course for the future. In December, the Board of Trustees approved new mission and vision statements and core values that will guide YSU into the second decade of the 21st century and our second century of service to our students, the Mahoning Valley and the state of Ohio. The statements call for YSU to become a national model for university-community engagement, to expand beyond its regional focus, to advance civic, scientific and technological development and to foster collaboration. These certainly are times of many challenges. But, with challenge comes opportunity. One such opportunity is to expand our horizons to recognize a world that is growing smaller, more connected and much more fluid with each passing year. That’s why China is so important. As the world’s most populous nation, with the third-largest and fastest-growing economy, and a country with an immense demand for post-secondary education, China represents an opportunity for Youngstown State University to not only attract new students, but for international field experiences that will be of lasting benefit for students from the Mahoning Valley. Two years ago, I led a YSU delegation to China and Taiwan to explore opportunities to develop academic ties with universities in those two regions. Since then, YSU faculty and students from fields as diverse as geology, communications and business have traveled to China and Taiwan, to experience their rich history and magnificent culture and to learn about their economic influence and potential. The YSU campus has also hosted faculty and students from China and Taiwan, who bring their unique perspectives of the world to our classrooms right here in Youngstown. This effort to strengthen our connections with the world beyond our borders – YSU’s enrollment of international students has increased 45 percent in the last three years and the number of students studying abroad is also on the rise – is part of a larger strategy to redefine Youngstown State University as an urban, research institution. To reach our full potential, we have had to seek additional sources of funding for strategic initiatives. I am pleased to report that in December, the Kresge Foundation awarded a $1.2 million challenge grant to our campaign to build a new facility for the Williamson College of Business Administration. The grant – the second received by YSU from Kresge in five years – is a major milestone and accomplishment of our Centennial Capital Campaign and puts YSU in very select company. But, just as important, it is the endorsement of a respected, world-renowned foundation. This issue of YSU Magazine includes the names of thousands of alumni and supporters who have demonstrated their loyalty and commitment to YSU by investing in its future. We are grateful to each and every contributor, and we invite all of you to help us in meeting the Kresge challenge. All of us here at YSU promise to do our best to live up to the faith that you have shown in us.


David C. Sweet

Youngstown State University

Letters to the Editor Dear Editor: Congratulations! What a pleasure it was to receive your first complete issue of YSU Magazine. It is very professional in look and feel and a significant improvement over earlier issues. I am familiar with my sons’ university magazines from the University of Virginia and Duke University, and feel this issue is competitive in print quality, presentation and content. I enjoyed reading the variety of articles and stories. Seeing the action photo of our great-niece, pole vaulter Stephanie Jarvis, on the lead page of the Sports News section was a special treat. I also enjoyed the Alumni Spotlight section and reading about Kim Katsaras, the daughter of Dennis Katsaras. We were neighbors of the Katsaras family in Campbell. Thank you for your good work. I look forward to your next issue. Carl Alexoff, ’50 (BEE) Haddonfield, N.J. Dear Editor: I just received my YSU summer 2008 magazine which reminded me of my enjoyable time at YSU. I am an ’83 BSAS computer technology graduate and was wondering what happened to the CAST College. Do you have a link, document or a description of what the College of Applied Science and Technology became at YSU? If you can point me in the right direction it would be appreciated. And secondly, where might I look for some of the professors I had during the early 80s? Thank you. Robert J. Dombrowe, ’83 (BSAS) Keswick, Va. (Editor’s Note: The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) was disbanded in 1993 and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems was created in the College of Arts and Sciences. Computer Science and Information Systems is one of the 10 academic departments that later became part of YSU’s new College of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in July 2007. You can check out the STEM Web site at There’s also a faculty-staff directory link on the YSU Web site,, where you can look up the faculty members you remember.)

Dear Editor: I thought the recent issue of the magazine was excellent. Represented the university very well and, most important, was an interesting read. I am particularly glad the magazine did not overdo the sports content. My wife, Ruth K. Bradshaw (’90, MBA), is a life member. We have been impressed with the alumni events and how on-the-ball the alumni staff has been. Makes us want to support the university.

Garland Bradshaw Howland, Ohio

Dear Editor: Thank you for choosing such a great picture (The Humphrey Girls, back cover, summer 2008 edition) and writing such a stirring caption!

Ann Berroteran Saluga, ’93 (BA) Oberlin, Ohio

(Editor’s Note: We thought the 1968 Humphrey-Nixon era photo was appropriate for an election year, especially one in which YSU was visited by so many political dignitaries. Barack Obama, John McCain, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton were all on campus at least once last year.)

We Like Letters

Please let us know what you enjoy and what you’d like to see more of in your alumni magazine. Letters must include your name, YSU graduation year, degree earned, and a telephone number or e-mail address for verification purposes. We reserve the right to edit letters for space and clarity. E-mail letters to:, or mail to: Editor, YSU Magazine, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

Dear Readers,



Editor’s DESK

It’s always tough to decide which photos to use when we’re putting together your YSU Magazine. Space is limited, and we generally have such a wide choice of photographs, thanks largely to the efforts of our talented photo staff. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce our newly expanded and interactive YSU Magazine Web site, It allows us to create online photo galleries that add an extra dimension to our print publication. For this edition we’ve posted online galleries with our cover story, “Links to China,” (p. 4), and with our profile of musician Sean Jones in “Alumni Spotlight,” (p. 21). And that’s just the beginning. We’ll be adding more great online content in future editions. Just watch for this icon, online or in print:


Cynthia Vinarsky, Editor


Summer 2008



These photographs of dance, art and historic sites in China are part of a photo collection created by YSU students participating in recent university-sponsored study tours. For more photos, visit

China Tour Planned

WYSU will sponsor a sightseeing tour across China from Oct. 4 through 15, with George McCloud, vice president for University Advancement, serving as group leader. For information, call 330-941-3363.


Youngstown State University

Jef Davis likes to say that he’s in the import-export business. Director of YSU’s Center for International Studies and Programs, his office “imports” students from other nations and “exports” YSU students for study abroad. Jef C. Davis And China is one of his best prospects. With a middle-class population that’s outpaced expansion of its educational infrastructure, China’s universities have become extremely elite, especially at the graduate school level. Only the very top students can be admitted. “Tens of thousands of truly excellent Chinese students are looking to study abroad, and YSU is an ideal place for them to come,” said Davis. “It’s good for them, good for our students, and good for our economy.”  YSU’s strategic plan calls for more than doubling the number of international students on campus by 2013, as well as increasing the number of YSU students who study abroad. For a myriad of reasons, China and Taiwan have emerged as important sites in the university’s effort to expand its global outreach.  Ou Hu, a YSU assistant professor of economics and a native of China’s Sichuan province, said YSU is in a good position to compete for Chinese student enrollment because it offers a combination of high-quality academic programs with affordable tuition. Studies show that most international students pay for their studies through personal and family funds.  YSU’s tuition is the lowest of all public and private comprehensive universities in Ohio, and out-of-state fees have been drastically reduced for graduate students – a substantial savings for international scholars pursuing advanced degrees.  Hu said Chinese students are generally eager to study in the United States and to improve their English language skills. “Many undergraduates in China can’t find a job,” he said. “Students have to work so much harder to grab a piece of the cake. If their resumé shows they have studied in the U.S. and they know English, it will help a lot.”  Hu acknowledged, however, that most Chinese students have never heard of YSU. “When I lived in China, I only heard of the top 50 American colleges,” he said. Ou Hu


Why China?

‘A Part of the World We Can’t Ignore’


That’s where YSU’s partnerships with universities abroad come in, helping to attract students who might otherwise never have considered a state university in Northeast Ohio.  Yifan Yang is a case in point. The 21-year-old business major is spending the 2008-09 academic year at YSU, half a world away from her home in Beijing. She started her undergraduate work at Beijing Technological and Business University and learned about YSU because the two schools have an peace academic partnership. Yifan Yang   That relationship was so important to her that Yang only considered schools with ties to BTBU, her home university. The same is true of most Chinese and Taiwanese students studying here.  “My school has exchange programs with YSU and three other American schools. I studied all of them online, and then I chose YSU,” Yang said, adding that the Williamson College of Business Administration’s high ranking among business schools also helped to win her over.  YSU has active ties with five universities overseas: BTBU, Lunghwa University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, Yeditepe University in (Continued on page 6)

respect Ray Beiersdorfer, a YSU geology professor who recently led two student tours across China, poses at right with a group of Chinese women in costume. Below, a photograph of China's renowned Terra Cotta Warriors, was taken by a YSU student group on tour.


Ask YSU geology professor Ray Beiersdorfer to pick the most spectacular geological environment in the world, and China is sure to be at the top of his list. He’s made the journey four times in the past two years, twice to lead YSU student groups on study tours of China’s natural and historic wonders. Associate English professor Linda Strom can’t stay away either. She’s spending this semester teaching and living at Lunghwa University in Taiwan, China’s neighbor, her second stint there in 18 months. Strom is one of several YSU professors who have participated in a successful, three-year-old faculty exchange program with Lunghwa. Beiersdorfer and Strom are at the forefront of YSU’s push to create strong academic relationships in China and Taiwan, links that aim to encourage study tours, faculty and student exchanges with the world’s third largest economy. “Every university in the U.S. should be doing this,” commented George McCloud, a YSU professor of communications and vice president of University Advancement. “China is a part of the world that we cannot ignore.” McCloud speaks Chinese and has also made numerous trips to China over the past 22 years, including a three-week art history study tour with 28 students last summer. The trip was co-sponsored by William Paterson University in New Jersey. “Anyone who wants to understand the history of humankind on this planet has to have some understanding of China,” he said, calling China the oldest continuing civilization in human history. Beiersdorfer was first drawn to China because 60 percent of the country is mountainous, creating a treasure trove of ancient caves, glaciers and other geological wonders, along with renowned sights such as the Great Wall of China and the Terra Cotta Warriors. Tourism is a growing industry in China, he added, so travel is affordable and tourist destinations are generally very accessible and well maintained. The fact that the nation once known as a “sleeping giant” has become such a global economic powerhouse is another good reason to learn about it, Beiersdorfer maintained. “China is such a big player on the world stage, knowing about it is just as much a necessity as computer literacy.” Strom said that teaching at Lunghwa has made her a better, more thoughtful professor. She knew only two Chinese phrases when she arrived there last year – hello and thank you - but enrolled in YSU’s Chinese language class in the fall semester to be better able to communicate and understand her students this time around. She uses every opportunity to encourage students, at both YSU and Lunghwa, to consider study abroad. “Letting our students go to another country, experience another culture, another language, is one of the greatest gifts we can give them,” said Strom. “I tell my students: ‘Leave the country. I want you to go away. This is the time to do it, so go now.’ Once they get out of school, life tends to interfere.’’

Winter 2009


Partnerships continued from page 5

Turkey, Aligarh Muslim University in India, and Winchester University in the United Kingdom, approved just last year. A delegation of university officials led by President David C. Sweet gave YSU’s partnerships with the Beijing and Lunghwa universities a boost when they toured the region in 2007. The group focused its visit on the Asia Pacific region because of its growing economic and political influence in the global marketplace.  Florence Wang, a native of Taiwan who lives in Youngstown and a longtime leader in the university’s effort to build global relationships, was part of that YSU delegation. She said university partnerships are an increasingly effective tool for building YSU’s credibility in other countries.  “Parents like it. They feel safer sending their students here when we have a partnership with their university at home,” Wang said. “Many parents in China and Taiwan still hope their student can get into an Ivy League school. Our pitch is that YSU has the same things: good education, a safe campus, and the culture you find in a big city – the ballet and the theater and the symphony.”  University partnerships have cleared the way for several YSU professors to change places with professors at Lunghwa over the past three years, and YSU has been successful in attracting students from both BTBU and Lunghwa to spend a semester or two on campus. Ten students, five from Beijing and five from Taipei, are enrolled this year.  Sending YSU students overseas has been more difficult, however, said Annette El-Hayek, YSU’s international programs coordinator. “Study abroad on a student’s resume really makes them stand out in a crowd, and it’s not just for language majors,” she says, adding that she recommends study in China because the cost of living is much lower there than in

This image of the Great Wall of China was photographed by students on a study tour of China last summer. YSU and William Paterson University co-sponsored the tour.

English-speaking countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. But language can be an obstacle.  Even though Chinese begin learning English at an early age, they usually need additional help with the language when they come to YSU. The language challenge is even greater for American students going to China, El-Hayek noted. Few know Chinese, so most require that anything other than Chinese language courses must be taught in English.  This semester YSU sent its first two students to BTBU, which offers more than 50 courses taught in English; Lunghwa offers fewer courses in English, but YSU expects to send at least two students there in the fall. Intensive Chinese language courses are available at both institutions.  El-Hayek said YSU is getting proactive about the language issue by offering two campus initiatives – a twosemester Chinese language course and a summer English language camp.  Barbara Nykiel-Herbert, assistant English professor, and Cynthia Vigliotti, English instructor, have been coordinators of the three-week Summer English Language Camp for students from Lunghwa since the summer of 2007.   An English Department initiative, the camp is held on the YSU campus and offers students from Taiwan opportunities to improve their English language skills through class sessions taught by YSU English majors and through field trips and activities in the community. The camp also provides the student instructors some practical training for careers in teaching English as a second language.  Shelly Xiaoli Zhu, an electronic services librarian at YSU’s Maag Library and a native of Beijing, is in her second year of teaching a two-semester Chinese language course on campus. She teaches Putonghua, the standard Mandarin dialect used in Chinese television, radio and government communications, and most of her students have a desire to travel, study or do business in China. Graduate student Tony Angnardo signed up for Zhu’s class after taking a three-week study tour across China co-sponsored by YSU and William Paterson University last summer. A non-traditional student and finance major from Warren, he said the trip convinced him of the importance of learning the language. “In China, relationships are built over time rather than just finding a link on a search engine and clicking away,” Angnardo said. “I got the sense that taking the time to learn their history and their language would show them that a long-term relationship was sought, not just a single transaction.” Zhu requires that her students learn to speak, read and write Chinese because she believes studying the language is the best way to understand the Chinese people. “China is such a big market, there are many opportunities there,” she said. “Learning the language is the best way to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities.” Stories by Cynthia Vinarsky




Youngstown State University

Around Campus

Around C






YSU CAMPUS AND BEYOND YSU Slashes Out-Of-State Surcharge For Students in Western Pennsylvania

The cost to attend YSU will be drastically reduced for residents of Western Pennsylvania under a new initiative announced in January. The “Western Pennsylvania Advantage” makes YSU, its quality programs and faculty more accessible and affordable to residents in eight Western Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer and Venango. The initiative, which starts in fall semester 2009, slashes the out-of-state surcharge that residents in those eight counties currently pay. The result is a tuition reduction of nearly $2,500 a year. “This plan will put YSU’s tuition at or below those at other universities in Western Pennsylvania, giving students and their parents more options when considering their educational needs,” YSU President David C. Sweet said. “We also believe that this initiative will further help connect Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, advancing the educational, cultural and technological future of the entire region.” For more information, contact the YSU Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 330-941-2000 or visit the YSU “Western Pennsylvania Advantage” Web site at

YSU alumnus John Allen Scott, ’71, president and chief operating officer of Parsons Corp., was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at YSU’s fall commencement Dec. 14. Scott, of Arcadia, Calif., earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from YSU and a master’s in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. A member of the YSU President’s Council and the YSU Centennial Capital Campaign, he is a recognized expert in the technologies and processes for the destruction of the world’s stockpile of chemical and biological agents and weapons.

Master’s in Art Education Program Added

Since earning a bachelor’s degree in art at YSU in 1978, Janie Morris has had her heart set on getting a master’s degree. “I have literally been waiting 30 years,” she said. With YSU’s new master’s degree in art education, the wait is over. Morris, an art teacher at Liberty High School, is among eight students enrolled in the new master’s program, which won the approval of the Ohio Board of Regents last summer and was started at YSU this past fall semester. Samuel Adu-Poku, program director and assistant professor of art, said a significant need exists for the program in the Mahoning Valley. “In the first 10 years of employment, art teachers in Ohio need to have 30 credits or a master’s [degree],” he said. “Now, they can hone their skills and keep their jobs, and they don’t have to go all the way to Kent State Samuel Adu-Poku University to satisfy the state requirements.”

Jambar Archives Now Available Online

Locating a particular print edition of any newspaper from the 1930s can be an arduous task. Now, readers and researchers of YSU’s student newspaper, The Jambar, can forget about leafing through all those discolored, brittle pages. Thanks to Salvador Barragan, head of archives and special collections, and Maag Library’s archives department, all 3,240 editions of The Jambar dating back to 1931, comprising thousands upon thousands of news pages, are now available online. “I’m a big believer in digitizing, and we get so many inquiries for old newspaper articles, this will make our research faster,” Barragan said. “We have alumni worldwide who request these papers. Now they’re available permanently online, and they’re accessible all over the world.” Digitizing the student newspapers cost about $14,000 and took four months to complete. Electronic versions of The Jambar newspaper archive are available on the Maag Library Web site by choosing the Collections tab, then Archives and Special Salvador Barragan, head of university archives and special collections, with aging Collections and then copies of YSU's student newspaper, The Digital Collections. Jambar, that have now been digitized.

Winter 2009


Around Campus

YSU Enrollment Growth Outpaces the Pack YSU’s enrollment has grown at a faster pace than any other public comprehensive university in Ohio over the past eight years, according to an analysis of enrollment data rePercentage enrollment change leased by the state. between fall 2000 and fall 2008: Since fall semester 2000, YSU’s University Change headcount enroll YSU 16.3 ment has increased from 11,787 to Wright State 15.0 13,712, a 16.3-perUniv. of Toledo 14.6 cent jump and the Univ. of Akron 13.3 highest increase Ohio State 12.0 over the period Univ. of Cincinnati 9.7 among the state’s 11 Ohio Univ. 5.7 public comprehenKent State 4.1 sive universities. Miami Univ. 1.3 “We have taken Bowling Green State -1.3 seriously the chalCleveland State -4.5 lenge of increasing

Enrollment growth

Treatment of Autism at YSU culminated in December with a presentation of fleece quilts to residents and staff of the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. The students, working with nine adolescents with autism who are participating in the center’s Adolescent and Family Transition Program, crafted 80 quilts during the center’s Kids Who Care summer art program. Georgia Backus, Rich Center director, said the quilt project was funded through a $1,000 grant from the P. Buckley

enrollment and inSource: Based on Ohio Board of Regents creasing educational enrollment numbers. attainment levels in the Mahoning Valley,” YSU President David C. Sweet said. “Our success is due to the hard work of many people throughout the university and community.”

Rich Center Students Donate Blankets to Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley

What began as a summer art project for preschool and school-age students at the Rich Center for the Study and

Amy Lowry, a staff member at YSU’s Rich Center for Autism, and Nathan Tucker, 5, work on a quilt together as part of the Kids Who Care program. The quilts were donated to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.

YSU Biology Major Named Miss Ohio Biology major Natasha Vivoda didn’t draw inspiration from the glamorous pageant queens of years gone by or touched-up magazine photos of supermodels when she competed for the title of Miss Ohio USA. She’s just not that kind of girl. Instead, Vivoda, a 21-year-old YSU senior from Champion, Ohio, who won the contest in late November, finds inspiration in her biggest fan – her grandfather, aka “Papa John,” who has battled lung cancer, strokes and seizures in recent months. Her grandfather’s valiant struggles motivated her during the Miss Ohio competition, she said, and he will be on her mind again when she competes against 50 other young women for the title of Miss USA on April 19 in Las Vegas. The contest will be broadcast live nationally by NBC. “This is my year, and I want to bring home the Miss USA title for him,” said the daughter of Michael and Paula Vivoda Klotz. Due to the demands that accompany the Miss Ohio USA title and the threeweek Miss USA competition, Vivoda said, she’s taking spring semester off. When she returns to the university in fall 2009, she plans to complete her baccalaureate in biology and then to enroll in YSU’s doctorate program in physical therapy. Accounts of Vivoda’s Miss Ohio USA and Miss USA experiences will be posted at


Youngstown State University

Around Campus Moss Foundation for Children’s Education. The Rich Center for Autism was one of five schools chosen for the grant out of 49 applications from across the nation. The center’s summer program is made possible by contributions from the Hine Memorial Fund, the Marion G. Resch Foundation, the World Financial Group Foundation and the UPS Foundation. Established in 1995, the Rich Center is an externally funded unit of YSU, with a primary mission to improve the lives of individuals with autism through innovative educational programs.

YSU Partners with Liberty Schools

YSU and the Beeghly College of Education have entered into a partnership with Liberty Local Schools that aims to expand learning opportunities for YSU student-teachers and for Liberty students in grades K–12. The agreement, which establishes Liberty as a Professional Development Schools district, is the first of its kind for the Mahoning Valley and for YSU, said Gail Saunders-Smith, an assistant professor of Teacher Education and the program liaison. Under the plan, participating YSU student-teachers spend two consecutive semesters in the same Liberty school building, the first in a pre-clinical field experience, the second in a student-teacher assignment. Twelve YSU students are beginning the year-long PDS internship program now at Guy Middle School and E.J. Blott Elementary School. Additionally, the PDS relationship with YSU will make college-credit courses available to Liberty High School students who qualify. Alison Harmon, associate dean of the Beeghly College of Education, said YSU plans to initiate PDS relationships with other school districts once the Liberty program is firmly established.

YSU Will Participate in Voluntary System of Accountability

YSU and Ohio’s 12 other public universities are now part of the Voluntary System of Accountability, a national program that allows the public to compare data from more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide. Enrollment in VSA is called for in the University System of Ohio’s 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education. “It’s a win for prospective students, families, legislators, policymakers, college faculty and staff who — for the first time —will be able to review data on price, financial aid, degree programs, retention and graduation rates, campus safety, student satisfaction and student learning outcomes in a standardized format that enables valid comparisons to be made between schools across Ohio and the nation,” said Eric Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. YSU’s portrait and those of the more than 300 other colleges and universities in the program are available at VSA’s Web site: Heading up YSU’s participation in VSA are Tom Maraffa, interim executive director of institutional research; Sharon Stringer, director of assessment; Julia Gergits, coordinator of general education; Bege Bowers, associate provost; and Steve Taraszewski, senior research analyst.

Professor Is Co-Discoverer of Galaxy Collisions

John Feldmeier, YSU assistant professor of astronomy, is part of a team of astronomers that discovered a high-speed collision between two galaxies in the nearby Virgo cluster. The team, led by Jeffrey Kenney, professor and chair of astronomy at Yale University, found evidence that high-speed collisions John Feldmeier between large elliptical galaxies may prevent new stars from forming. The findings were published in a November 2008 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Feldmeier, who joined YSU’s faculty in 2006, said the study indicates that the giant elliptical galaxy M86, in the heart of the Virgo cluster, has interacted with another galaxy in the Virgo cluster, NGC 4438. The two galaxies are connected by tendrils of ionized hydrogen.  The researchers believe the study shows high-speed galaxy collisions are a plausible explanation to what process turns off star formation in the biggest galaxies. Read more about Feldmeier and his Celebrating a new academic partnership between YSU and the Liberty Local research at: Schools are, from left: Mark Lucas, Liberty Schools superintendent, and Kathie Carlile, director of curriculum, grants and educational technology for Liberty; Gail Saunders-Smith, YSU assistant professor of Teacher Education; Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Alison Harmon, associate dean of the Beeghly College of Education; and Philip Ginetti, Beeghly College dean.

Winter 2009


Around Campus

STUDENT SUCCESS YSU’s yo* Magazine Wins National Collegiate Press Recognition

The yo*, a special magazine published by YSU’s student newspaper, was awarded the Best in Show prize by the Associated Collegiate Press. The magazine placed first in the feature/ special audience college magazine category. The award-winning spring 2008 issue featured work by Cristina Cala, Chelsea Pflugh, Britta Snowberger, Richard Boccia, Brian Cetina, Sarah Sole, Ashley Tate, Cheryl Thompson, Emmalee Torisk and Tony Lucente. Sarah Sole, editor of The Jambar, and Richard Boccia, managing editor of The Jambar, are this year’s editors. Alyssa Lenhoff, director of journalism, said she and other journalism faculty are trying to find permanent funding for printing of the yo*. Previous issues have been published with funds provided by the YSU Student Government Association.

Cristina Cala, second from left, former editor of yo* magazine, shows off the trophy the student publication received from the Associated Collegiate Press. Other staffers pictured are, clockwise from left, Sarah Sole, Richard Louis Boccia, Brian Cetina, Emmalee Torisk and Chelsea Pflugh.

Math Students Present Research at National Conference in D.C.

Three YSU mathematics students presented their research results at the Joint Mathematics Meeting of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America in January in Washington, D.C. John W. Hoffman of Poland, W. Ryan Livingston of Hubbard and Jared M. Ruiz of Girard called their presentation “A Note of Covering Systems of Congruences: Variations on a 2002 AIME Problem.” It was the latest in a string of accomplishments for the mathematics trio. Last summer, the three were selected to participate in an eight-week research experience for undergraduate students operated by the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics at YSU. Funded by the J. Douglas &


Youngstown State University

Barbara Faires Endowment Fund, the team worked under the direction of Jacek Fabrykowski, YSU professor of mathematics and statistics; Ruiz received summer support from the University of Akron’s McNair Scholar Program. Ruiz, Livingston and Hoffman also attended the Annual Summer Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America and Pi Mu Epsilon in Madison, Wisc., in late July and made presentations.

Sophomore Awarded Scholarship for Semester Study in Thailand

Brian Haughey, a sophomore political science major from Austintown, has been awarded a $5,000 FreemanAsia Scholarship to help fund his study abroad this semester at Rangsit University in Bangkok, Thailand. A son of Deborah and Michael Gaia and David Haughey, Brian left for Thailand on New Year’s Eve and will return home in April. The second-oldest Brian Haughey of four brothers, Haughey has a 3.9 grade point average at YSU. “He’s a go-getter. When he sets his mind on something, he gets it done,” Michael Gaia said. Haughey is among the last to receive a scholarship from the Freeman-Asia Scholarship program, which has supported more than 4,000 American undergraduates studying abroad in East Asia or Southeast Asia since it was founded in 2001. The Institute of International Education, which co-funded the scholarships with the Freeman Foundation, has suspended the program.

Nursing Students Participate in ‘Drive-Thru’ Flu Shot Clinic

YSU nursing students got some hands-on experience in how immunizations might be administered in the case of a community disaster when they participated in a Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic sponsored by the Mahoning County Board of Health. Sue Rendano, nursing instructor, said the setting gave students a chance to observe, participate and evaluate the role that nurses play in community disasters or emergencies in which mass numbers of citizens must be immunized. Rendano said the clinic focused on the “social isolation” of the clients – the clients remained in their cars, answering a few questions regarding the flu vaccine before the shots were administered. “Overall, the response from the public was positive as well as most appreciative,” she said. The clinic was approved by the Ohio Department of Health as a full scale infrastructure exercise. The Mahoning County Emergency Management Team had a command post on site; state health officials observed the clinic and performed a post-clinic evaluation.

Around Campus

NASA Picks YSU Planetarium for Galaxy Image Display YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium has been named a permanent exhibition site for two photographic prints of Messier 101, a spiral galaxy, digitally captured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Great Observatories. The NASA images – one 6 by 3 feet, the other 3 by 3 feet – will be displayed near the planetarium entrance at Ward Beecher Hall and unveiled in mid-February to kick off a series of events on the YSU campus celebrating the International Year of Astronomy.

“This year-long celebration is an exciting opportunity for everyone to observe and appreciate the universe, and we are thrilled to be taking part,” said Patrick Durrell, assistant professor, Physics and Astronomy, and planetarium director. YSU is one of about 100 U.S.-based science centers, museums, planetariums, nature centers and educational venues chosen to exhibit the images captured by NASA’s three Great Observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

The following events, all scheduled at the planetarium, will also be part of YSU’s International Year of Astronomy observance: March 20 and 21, 8 p.m. - Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian, part 1, presentation by Durrell. March 25, 8 p.m. - Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian, part 2, presentation by Don Howard, philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, jointly sponsored by the Planetarium and the YSU Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies. April 2, 1 to 2:30 p.m. - Space Observations: Past, Present & Future, a live Webcast discussing Galileo and the importance of space observations throughout history.

April 4, noon to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight Global Star Party, offers the public opportunities for daytime and nighttime telescope viewing with assistance from YSU faculty, staff, students and members of the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society. Planetarium shows also featured at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 and 26, 8 p.m. - “The Star Seeker,” a live stage presentation about Galileo’s life, written and directed by YSU student David Munnell, produced jointly by the YSU Department of Theater and Dance and the Planetarium.

April 3 - 100 Hours of Astronomy, includes planetarium shows at 7 and 8:30 p.m. and telescope observation opportunities for the public on the YSU campus starting at 8 p.m.

Two students take in the view overhead at YSU's Ward Beecher Planetarium.

Winter 2009


Patricia Sweet A Visit With YSU’s First Lady

It was a hot July afternoon in Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963, when a civil rights march through the center of town brought Patricia and David Sweet together for the first time. She was an undergraduate, taking summer classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; he was a graduate student there. Recognizing the march as history-in-the-making, they strolled over together and stood watching, side by side. “That was the ‘60s. There were major events going on all over the United States, especially in the South,” she recalled, remembering how the demonstrators marched along in silence and then spontaneously burst into song. “It was a moving experience, just to be there.” That was the beginning. The Sweets married three years later after she completed her baccalaureate in psychology at the University of Oklahoma, and they began a life of public service, making history of their own. For the past eight and a half years Mrs. Sweet has been YSU’s “first lady,” dedicated full-time to her role as partner to YSU President David C. Sweet who was named the university’s sixth president in 2000. Before coming to Youngstown she was the longtime executive director of the League of Women Voters of Cleveland Educational Fund. She also founded and directed Look Up To Cleveland, a nationally-recognized high school leadership development program. “When David accepted the position at YSU, I had to give some thought to what kind of a first lady I would be,” she said. “I chose to be very much an active first lady, an advocate for the university, engaged in the community.” Now, Mrs. Sweet spends much of her time hosting events for what she fondly calls “the YSU family”— university and community leaders, students and alumni groups — at the couple’s stately 1930s-era red-brick home in Liberty


Youngstown State University

Township. “It’s about building relationships,” she said, “and acknowledging those who contribute so much to the success of the university.” Winter holidays are especially busy – the Sweets had dinners and receptions scheduled throughout December, with group sizes ranging from 17 to as many as 100. In summer their wooded lawn is the setting for many warm-weather celebrations. The home is furnished with comfortable upholstered pieces in neutral tones and decorated with YSU student art, books and antique accents passed down through generations. There are photographs of the Sweets’ four adult children Pat Sweet rides in the YSU Homecoming Parade with two of and families, including their seven grandchildren, but those her grandchildren. photos are displayed only in the kitchen – including a collage on the refrigerator door – and other less-public She’s a trustee for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, living areas. “It’s just my way of keeping a little bit of where she helped initiate an annual historical restoration award privacy,” Mrs. Sweet explained. program, acknowledging those who work to preserve and refurAfter 43 years of marriage, Mrs. Sweet is accustomed bish the region’s historic treasures. to living a public life. She was in her 20s with four children An avid supporter of the Wick Neighbors project, with under 7 when Dr. Sweet served as director of development its goal of creating a vibrant urban community in the old for the state of Ohio. Later, he was a commissioner on Ohio’s Smoky Hollow neighborhood adjacent to the YSU campus, Public Utilities Commission, then served as founding dean she chairs the annual Smoky Hollow 5-K Race and Family and professor at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Fun Walk to raise funds and public awareness for the project. Urban Affairs before accepting the YSU presidency. Besides attending major campus events, such as comWhile she sometimes longs for more spontaneity – the mencements and groundbreakings, Mrs. Sweet is a community Sweets must plan their calendar a year in advance – she’s representative for Youngstown Early College, a program that learned to enjoy the busy pace and to revel in her role as an gives students the chance to earn YSU college credits while still ambassador for YSU, constantly meeting new people and in high school. She also serves on the adcultivating relationships. visory board for the YSU English Festival, “I think it helps that I was an which brings 3,000 students and teachers to Army brat,” she said with an easy grin. campus every spring. Her father was a Green Beret in Off-campus activities include numerous the Army’s Special Forces; her mother, leadership positions and memberships that a graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking allow her to pursue personal interests while school in Paris who founded her own serving as a champion for YSU. real estate firm. YSU’s first lady has few gripes about The family moved frequently public life. She’s shy about getting her picwhile Mrs. Sweet was growing up, ture taken and waving from a car in YSU’s and she attended 11 different school Homecoming parade – though she liked districts, including two abroad. “When that better last fall when five of her grandyou’re moving a lot, you have to be children joined her. “My least favorite part able to meet new friends and start over became my favorite part,” she said. In Columbus to see the YSU-Ohio State again. I think that prepared me for The Sweets try to fit family visits into University football game, David C. Sweet, public life.” their schedule – they have a son in Los AnYSU President, and Pat Sweet pause to She demonstrated her adventurgeles, two daughters in Charlotte, N.C. and watch the YSU band perform. ous side when she chose to attend the a son in Bluffton, S.C. They also led University of Oklahoma, even though a delegation of YSU leaders to China and Taiwan in the she’d never been there and knew no one. Her reason: the summer of 2007 to boost the university’s international study school had a great football team, and she loves football. exchange programs. “Mom and Dad put me on the last Pullman train out of When at home they enjoy YSU theater, music and athFayetteville, N.C., and it took me three days to get there,” she letic events, and they try to accompany the men’s football and said. “That’s how we did things. All very independent.” basketball teams for at least one road game each season. “We Years later, Mrs. Sweet brought that same independence like seeing the Penguins perform, whether in the classroom, on to her role as YSU’s first lady, finding ways to strengthen the stage, or in the athletic arena,” she said, “so it works out well. university’s connections across the Mahoning Valley while Actually, that part of the job is the extra-nice part.” fulfilling her passions for historic preservation, education and Story by Cynthia Vinarsky community development.

Winter 2009


Philip Brady

English Professor, Ohio Poet Philip Brady, a professor in YSU’s English Department, was honored this past fall by the Ohioana Library Association with the 2008 Ohioana Helen & Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award. An internationally renowned poet and writer, Brady has published three books of poetry and two books of celebrated personal essays; he has also co-authored a scholarly edition on James Joyce. His poetry has appeared in more than 50 national and international literary journals. Brady founded the YSU Poetry Center in 1994 and was the founding director of the NEOMFA (Northeastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing), a unique collaboration among YSU, Kent State University, the University of Akron and Cleveland State University. He also serves as an adviser to YSU’s literary journal, The Penguin Review, and is founder and director of Etruscan Press, a national literary publishing house. No stranger to awards and international recognition, Brady has earned five Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships, a Newhouse Award and a Thayer Fellowship in the Arts from New York State, the Snyder Prize for his book, Weal, and residencies at Yaddo, the Soros Centre in Prague, Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and the Headlands Center in California. In accepting the prestigious award, Brady said: “A few years ago, I was walking in downtown Youngstown, and I came upon a derelict building. There was a broken window, covered by a cardboard sheet to keep out the wind, and on it was stenciled – beautifully stenciled – these words: ‘When you love a place, truly and most hopelessly love it, I think you love it for its signs of disaster, the way you come to realize that you love the irregularities, and even scars, on some person’s face.’ “The words were signed, James Wright, Ohio poet. Well, James Wright was one of the greatest poets in the English language since Yeats, but I think he would have been proud to see his words here, so close to the source of their making, keeping out the wind. And I think he would have been very proud – for all his international acclaim – to be called an Ohio poet. I do not claim James Wright’s stature. But I’m very proud today to be called an Ohio poet.”


Youngstown State University


Delphi Scholarship

Robotics Program Inspires YSU engineering student Justin Kopelos is quick to school career really caught our attention in the selection admit that he needed direction when he started out as process,” recalled E. Thomas Dickey, engineering mana freshman at Warren G. Harding High School in ager at Delphi and a mentor to Kopelos. “He’s continued Warren. He barely squeaked by that year with a 2.0 to overcome obstacles to get where grade average. he is today.” Then he joined Harding’s robotics Two other engineering majors, both team, a program sponsored by Delphi of Warren, have also received FIRST Packard Electrical / Electronic Archischolarships. Junior Emily Rencewicz tecture, and the proverbial light bulb was selected in 2005, and freshman went on. Wendy Mach was chosen in 2008. Kopelos graduated from Harding FIRST refers to the worldwide For three years later with a 3.8 GPA and Inspiration and Recognition of Science in 2004 was the first to be awarded and Technology Robotics Competition, a full-tuition YSU/Delphi FIRST and participation in FIRST robotics Scholarship for engineering students, programs at Harding, Champion, Girard offered cooperatively by Delphi Packor Chaney high schools is a prerequisite ard E/EA in Warren and the of the scholarship program. YSU Foundation. Dickey said FIRST aims to encourE. Thomas Dickey and Justin Kopelos Now he’s preparing to graduate in age students who have aptitudes for May with a baccalaureate in mechanimath, science and technology, all crucial cal engineering. The Foundation paid his tuition for the in the engineering profession. first two years; Delphi Packard E/EA covered the next The scholarship selection process begins in February, three years and provided Kopelos with three years of with each of the four participating FIRST schools submitengineering-related work experience. ting the names of their top two senior students. A commit“It definitely has been a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” tee of representatives from Delphi and the YSU FoundaKopelos said of the scholarship. His single mother tion chooses the recipient from that group, based on their didn’t have the resources to afford college, and he’s leadership in the robotics program, grades, standardized been working part-time, in addition to school and the test scores, references and other merit-based criteria. Delphi internship, to help support the family. For more information, visit “Justin’s remarkable improvement during his high ysufoundation or call 330-941-3211.

Stock Market Woes:

A View from the YSU Foundation When the telephone rings at the YSU Foundation office, the callers often ask, “How is the Foundation faring in this volatile market?” The following answer gives a general description of our position during these difficult economic times. Assets are down in every category. Hedge funds, commodities, S&P, international emerging Reid Schmutz markets, and private equity all have suffered in this economic downturn. Contrary to “modern

By Reid Schmutz, President

portfolio theory,” diversification of assets away from fixed income into alternatives has not helped. There has been no place to hide. However, the YSU Foundation has remained true to its long-standing principle of spending only current income. We do not spend assets. Any foundation that is selling assets to pay commitments in this economic environment is severely stunting future growth and diminishing the opportunity to support the institution with the same impact in future years. We continue to be true to the goals of supporting past, present and future generations equally.

Winter 2009



Penguin Football Players Earn Awards, Set Records Junior quarterback Brandon Summers and redshirt freshman tailback Kamryn Keys gave the YSU football team a rare sweep by capturing the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s Newcomer and Freshman-of-the-Year honors, respectively. Meanwhile, senior offensive lineman Brad Samsa of Howland was selected to the American Football Coaches Association FCS Brandon Summers All-America team. He is the first Penguin to be named All-American since 2006 and the third to win the honor since 2001. YSU also had five players earn Missouri Valley postseason honors, including Samsa who was chosen for the first team, and five Penguin players were named to the conference’s allBrad Samsa newcomer squad.


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Samsa finished his YSU career as a two-time firstteam pick and earned all-conference honors three times following a second-team pick in 2006. In 2008, Samsa started at center for the first nine contests before moving to guard for the final three. Samsa played his best in the final stretch of the season, grading at 83 percent or better in four of the final five games. Summers, a transfer student from Toledo, threw 18 TD passes, tying for the most in a regular season in YSU history, and set a school record with a Kamryn Keys pass efficiency rating of 152.18. Keys, the first YSU freshman to earn Freshmanof-the-Year honors, also set a team record for rushing yards by a freshman with 804 yards on 136 attempts.


Penguin Seniors at Home in the Water Three YSU seniors led the Penguin swimming and diving team to unprecedented success in the first half of the season under Coach Matt Anderson, who took the helm of the program five years ago. Photographed underwater in the Beeghly Natatorium on the YSU campus are senior team members, from left: Olivia Arnold, a political science major from Rutherglen, Australia; Jessica Front, a food and nutrition major from Waynesboro, Pa.; and Natasha Bray, a criminal justice major from York, Pa. Under Anderson’s guidance, the Penguins have achieved their highest finish ever at the Horizon League Championship, won three individual conference championships and broken 20 school records, nine of them at last year’s Horizon League Championships. The swimming and diving season ends with this year’s Horizon League Championship meet, scheduled for Feb. 25-28.

PENGUIN HOOPS at HOME Men’s Games: Feb. 12 - vs. Green Bay, 7:05 p.m. Feb. 14 - vs. Milwaukee, 7:05 p.m. Feb. 21 - vs. ESPN BracketBuster (Opponent, time TBA) Women’s Games: Feb. 19 - vs. Detroit, 7:05 p.m. Feb. 21 - vs. Wright State, time TBA March 5 - vs. Butler, 7:05 p.m. March 7 - vs. Valparaiso, 2:05 p.m. (All home games are played at Beeghly Center.)

Formeck Leads Way for Women’s Golf

Shopping mall developer Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., a Youngstown native, donated $750,000 toward the future construction of YSU’s new indoor athletic training facility, to be named the W.A.T.T.S. Brian Kopp, president and general counsel of the Sport Division of DeBartolo Sports Entertainment, center, presents the gift to YSU head football coach Jon Heacock, right, while Ohio State University head coach Jim Tressel looks on. Tressel served for 15 years as YSU’s head coach before accepting the post at OSU. He, his wife Ellen and her parents Frank and Norma Watson donated $1 million to the W.A.T.T.S. project in 2007.

The YSU women’s golf program is coming off an impressive fall season, placing first or second in four of its five events. YSU won its own Invitational in September and ended its fall campaign with an impressive win at the Robert Morris Invitational. Leading the way for the Samantha Formeck Penguins was freshman Samantha Formeck of North Cambria, Pa., the Guins’ top finisher in four of the five events. She earned medalist honors at the Bucknell Fall Invitational, the Detroit Titans Fall Invitational and at Robert Morris. Sophomore Katie Rogner of Warren won the YSU Invitational, giving the team four individual titles in the five fall events.

Winter 2009



lumni •




Legacy Scholarship Applications Available


Half Century Club Honors 1958 Graduates Nineteen YSU alumni from the Class of 1958 were honored at their 50th class reunion and three alums were recognized on their 60th when the Half-Century Club met for its annual 50-year reception and luncheon. The event, held in late October during Homecoming Week at the DeBartolo Stadium Club, drew a crowd of 88 alumni and guests. Keynote speaker George Beelen, a 1958 graduate and YSU professor emeritus, shared stories and anecdotes from his days as a student at Youngstown College.

for Children of

YSU Alumni

YSU has always encourag ed legacy attendance – the tradition of children following in the footsteps of their parents or guardian s to obtain a degree from the same alm a mater. To promote that cherished tradition, the Office of Al umni and Events Management is pro ud to award four $1,000 Legacy Scho larships to children of current Alum ni Society members. Applications are now bei ng accepted, and the deadli ne for submissions is March 13 . For more information and an application, call 330-941 -3497 or visit ni and click “membership.”

Class of ’58 alumni inducted into the Half-Century Club were, from left: front row - Robert Pegues, John Latell, Denise Bartholomew, George Beelen, William Carnie, Edward Evaniuk and Chester Feret; second row - James Leslie, James Lewis, Richard Marsico, Agnes Martinko, Richard McLaughlin, Ruth Mellett, Jack Menosky, Barbara Seely, Don Seely, Joan Twaddle and George Vasile; not pictured, James Basista.

Thailand Alumni Chapter Initiates Networking and They live in Bangkok, the bustling, metropolitan capital of Thailand, but 120 Thai YSU alumni find their thoughts returning to the changing seasons and rolling hills of Northeastern Ohio when they reminisce about their college days. The Thai-YSU Alumni Chapter is one of YSU’s largest alumni groups, with members representing every graduation year between 1961 and 1998. Most studied either business or engineering at YSU and then returned to their home country to pursue their careers. The chapter’s biggest event to date was its YSU Centennial Celebration last October, a buffet dinner that attracted 100 alumni and family to the Royal Bangkok Sports Club for a menu that included native dishes such as spicy papaya salad and spicy stuffed fish with rice. Phusit Kamolsoonthorn, a senior vice president and business development leader for GE Capital in Thailand,


Youngstown State University

was the group’s first president and now serves as the Thai Alumni Chapter’s liaison with YSU’s Office of Alumni and Events Management. He earned his MBA in finance at YSU in 1989. He said YSU alumni in Thailand started meeting in 1998 to organize a welcome party for two well-liked YSU faculty members, Raymond J. Shuster and Linda J. Mohn, who were visiting the region. Informal meetings continued after that, and in 2004 the group elected Dusit Nontanakorn, ’68 BE engineering, as president. Nontanakorn is employed as advisor to the Management Advisory Committee for the Siam Cement Group and is vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. The Thai-YSU Alumni Chapter was officially organized in 2008. Kamolsoonthorn said its leadership has three main goals: to involve alumni in community


Mar k Yo u r C a le n d a r

Alumni Basketball Dinner

Saturday, Feb. 21: Penguin Women vs. Wright State; Penguin Men vs. ESPN Bracketbuster. Dinner at Beeghly Center, Room 119, will be served during the break between the doubleheader women’s and men’s basketball games.

Youngstown Day

Sunday, March 8: Office of Alumni and Events Management hosts the 2008 Youngstown Area Reunion in Sarasota, Fla. This popular event usually draws as many as 500 alumni and their family members who have relocated from the Youngstown area or reside in Florida for part of the year.

Norfolk/Virginia Beach Area Alumni at Norfolk Admirals

Saturday, March 21: Join YSU alumni and friends for YSU Alumni Night at the Norfolk (Va.) Admirals, hosted by Joe Gregory, ’01, vice president and governor of the Norfolk Admirals, and the YSU Office of Alumni and Events Management. A dinner buffet will be served at 6 p.m., followed by a hockey game featuring the Admirals vs. the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and include the buffet and a reserved seat at the game.

Pittsburgh Alumni Reception

Monday, April 6: Pittsburgh area alumni meet for a wine tasting event from 6-8 p.m. at Palate Partners, 2013 Penn Avenue in the Strip District. Light hors d’oeuvres by Big Burrito Catering will be served.

YSU Alumni Night at the Scrappers

Tuesday, June 23: Even with spring training just beginning, it’s not too early to mark your calendar for the annual YSU Alumni Night with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The traditional summer gathering typically attracts 400 or more alumni and friends to Eastwood Field for a hearty buffet dinner and a box seat at the game.

Call the Office of Alumni and Events Management at 330-941-3497 or e-mail for more information. Reservations are required for all events.

Service Projects service, to establish a support network for YSU alumni in Thailand, and to support Thai students interested in studying at YSU. Leaders intend to meet next year with the Chaipattana Foundation, a Thai government agency dedicated to community service, with plans to organize service projects for the alumni members along with their usual social and networking activities. “We have the full support or our senior members, especially our president Mr. Dusit,” said Kamolsoonthorn. “We all just love to help.”

Thai-YSU Alumni Chapter members who helped to coordinate the group’s recent YSU Centennial Celebration dinner in Bangkok are, from left: Dusit Nontanakorn, ’68, chapter president; San Bhamorbutra, ’65; Niramon Nontanakorn, ’68; Ajarin Pattanapanchai, ’87; Pachitra Tienprasit, ’61; and Pornsit Sriorathaikul, ’68. Tienprasit, a retiree and owner of a school, was the first Thai to study at YSU.

Winter 2009



Kresge awards $1.2M Challenge Grant

The Kresge Foundation, an independent, private foundation that provides grants to nonprofit institutions worldwide, has awarded a $1.2 million challenge grant to YSU’s campaign to build a new facility for the Williamson College of Business Administration. “This grant will help give us the push needed to put the fundraising campaign for the new building over the top,” YSU President David C. Sweet said. “But, just as important, this grant is the endorsement of a respected, world renowned foundation. It’s a distinction that is sought by thousands of educational institutions across the country. It puts YSU in select company.” This is the second Kresge award for YSU. In 2003, the foundation provided a $600,000 grant in YSU’s fund-raising campaign to construct the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Tony Lariccia, chair of the YSU Centennial Capital Campaign, said the grant reflects Kresge’s continued endorsement of the university as a whole. “Kresge is not interested in grant-making only, but in assisting organizations to increase their fund-raising capacity by acquiring new donors and encouraging current donors to increase their levels of support,” Lariccia said. The fund-raising campaign for the new Williamson Celebrating receipt of the Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant College of Business Administration is nearing the $12.4 are, from left: Tony Lariccia, chair of the YSU Centennial Capital Campaign; YSU President David C. Sweet; and Betty Jo Licata, million mark, leaving $3.6 million to be raised. If YSU raises dean of the YSU Williamson College of Business Administration. $2.4 million more, Kresge has agreed to provide $1.2 million to meet the campaign’s $16 The three-story building is million goal. YSU plans to designed by Strollo Architects, meet the Kresge challenge Youngstown, and Perkins & with support from alumni, Will, an international architecfriends, students, businesses ture and planning firm, and will and organizations. be about twice the size of the Sebastian Kresge building on Lincoln Avenue founded the S.S. Kresge that currently houses the WilCo. in 1899 and started The liamson College of Business Kresge Foundation 25 years Administration. later from his personal funds. The building is being deSince then, the foundation An architect’s rendering of the future WCBA building. signed in line with standards of has awarded more than 8,000 the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) grants totaling more than $2 billion to nonprofit organizaU.S. Green Building Council Rating System. tions involved in health, the environment, arts and culture, For photos and more information on the new building, education, human services and community development. In visit: 2007, The Kresge Foundation awarded 283 grants totaling nearly $180 million. The 110,000-square-foot Williamson College of Business Administration building, to be constructed on the far Watch your mail for an invitation south end of the YSU campus, will provide cutting-edge to meet the Kresge Challenge! classroom and laboratory facilities for the college’s 1,950 At this writing, the WCBA Building Campaign stands at 86 percent of students and will help better connect the college and the uniits $16 million goal. We’re so close - but we’ll need your help to meet versity to the downtown Youngstown business district. THE KRESGE CHALLENGE and raise the final $2.4 million by DecemConstruction will begin early this year, and the building ber 2009. In a few weeks you will receive THE KRESGE CHALLENGE will be open in time for fall 2010 classes. The building is the mail appeal. We hope you’ll lend your support and take advantage of this unique opportunity to stretch your giving dollars. If you centerpiece of YSU’s Centennial Master Plan and represents wish to support THE KRESGE CHALLENGE right now, please visit the largest single capital expenditure in the university’s to make your gift online. year history.


Youngstown State University

Alumni potligh




Finding Forever Homes For Special Kids Melanie Jones, ’80

There’s a stack of toys and kids’ clothes piled high in a corner of Melanie Jones’s office at Northeast Ohio Adoption Services in Warren. They’re keepsakes, stashed away by children who don’t know where they’ll be living next week or next month. “These kids don’t have a lot, and they don’t always know what to expect when they’re going into a new place,” said Jones, a YSU alumna, social worker and adoption specialist. “I don’t mind keeping their things for them, just until they get settled.” NOAS is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides permanent homes and foster care to teens and Melanie Jones at Northeast Ohio Adoption Services, Warren. school-age children that government agencies consider hard-to-adopt. Jones, honored as the agency’s Social Worker of the her YSU tuition. In 1980 she completed her bachelor’s degree Year in 2008, works mostly with children who have suffered in criminal justice. “I call it my special seven-year bachelor’s severe physical or sexual abuse or neglect. There are also degree because I worked my way through, and I paid cash,” she sibling groups, teens and children with physical and mental said. “That’s what took me so long.” disabilities. She started her career with Trumbull County Children’s Her challenge is finding people willing to offer her “kids” Services, investigating reports of child neglect and abuse. “I unconditional love and the stability of a permanent family, found out that the stuff you see on “Law and Order” on TV then providing those prospective parents with the training they happens right here in Warren, Ohio,” Jones said. “People do need for long-term success. NOAS requires foster parents to horrendous things to their kids.” complete a 40-hour training program; adoptive parents are In 1997 Jones found her niche when she joined NOAS as a urged to do so. permanency planning specialist. Since then she has placed more “There’s a big difference between our ‘babies’ and cooey than 40 children and teens in permanent families and found lovlittle babies. Our babies can be unbelievably cute-looking, but ing foster homes for many more. they will sometimes cuss and punch and steal,” she explained. Jones’s heart for children spills over from her work life “I don’t discourage anybody who wants to be a parent, but I into her leisure hours. She runs an outreach for children with try to equip them, to prepare them. Our most successful parphysical and mental disabilities at her Warren church, Believents are the ones who take the time to get educated.” ers’ Christian Fellowship, and leads a multi-cultural Girl Scout Jones grew up in Warren in a family she compares to teletroop of more than 50 inner-city girls, ages 5 through 17. vision sitcom ideals like the Huxtables on “The Cosby Show.” But one of her best success stories is her own niece, now “We were financially-challenged, but we didn’t know it,” 22, whom she raised as a daughter since she was kindergartenshe said. “Our parents made sure we experienced a lot. They age. “I was a single career girl when she first came to me,” taught us to always do better and never to hate.” Jones said. “I had to learn to practice what I preach about being Jones studied cosmetology in high school, along with a parent. Now she’s the love of my life.” college prep courses, then worked as a hairdresser to earn

Winter 2009


Alumni Spotlight

Teaching Medical Students Compassion and Hope Dr. James Chengelis, ’78, ’79 Dr. James Chengelis sees some heart-wrenching cases on his daily psychiatric rounds at Boston University Medical Center, but he’s found a way to brighten even the most despondent patient’s mood. “I just ask what we can do to make their day better,” said Chengelis, a YSU alumnus, director of psychiatric consultation liaison at the 581-bed hospital and assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. Some patients decline the offer. More often they ask for small comforts: a blanket, a newspaper, maybe a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. If it’s possible, Chengelis and the medical students who accompany him on his rounds try to fulfill the request. “Traditionally, doctors don’t do that kind of thing, but you’d be surprised what a difference it makes,” he said. “I want my students to learn that part of being a good doctor is to be humane, to give your patients hope and optimism despite present difficulties.” That passion for teaching empathy to student physicians won Chengelis three major teaching awards at BUSM in 2008, including the title Clinical Educator of the Year. What means so much to him about the awards, he said, is that they were decided by the college’s medical students and by a vote of his faculty peers. Chengelis feels at home at BUSM and its affiliated hospital because their philosophies line up so closely with his. “Boston University is a wonderful, wonderful place,” he said. “It’s one of the few places where all people are equal. We have patients from all over the world. We don’t discriminate based on income and we don’t deny treatment to anyone.” Chengelis grew up in Boardman, the youngest of four children, and earned two bachelor’s degrees at YSU, one in combined sciences in 1978 and a second in sociology, anthropology and social sciences in 1979. His sister and two brothers all earned YSU degrees as well, and his mother, Evelyn, was a non-traditional student who graduated at the same time he did. “We’re truly a YSU family, and proud of it,” he said. He earned a master’s degree in public health and health education at the University of Toledo, then stayed on to complete his medical degree at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, now the College of Medicine at the University of Toledo. After that he was off to Boston – what he


Youngstown State University

calls “America’s Athens” because it is home to 100 colleges and four medical schools. Chengelis worked at Harvard Medical School and at several of Boston’s top medical centers – Beth Israel, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital – before joining the BUSM faculty and its hospital staff four years ago. His priority, and what he wants most to teach his medical students, is to treat patients with compassion and empathy along with medical knowledge and skill. “I have no children, so my students are like my children,” he said. “I dote over them, and I want them to be good doctors.” While he still thinks of the Mahoning Valley as “home,” Chengelis hasn’t been back since his mother and three siblings moved to Boston several years ago. The family bought a multi-family brownstone that contains several townhouse condominiums so they could all be neighbors. But he hasn’t forgotten his alma mater. Chengelis has established two scholarship endowment funds and a Maag Library book fund at YSU, all in the name of his parents, the late Theodore P. and Evelyn Chengelis. “What I loved about YSU is that the professors knew me. I was not just a number. They knew my name, they knew my hopes and dreams, and I flourished in that atmosphere,” he said. “I could have gone anywhere, but I chose YSU, and I’ve never been sorry. I value the education I received at my undergraduate school.”

Dr. James Chengelis, left, with medical students at Boston University School of Medicine.

Alumni Spotlight

Making a Splash in the World of Jazz Sean Jones, ’00

Photo by David Keough, Boston University Educational Media Center

Sean Jones had never heard of jazz as a kid growing up on Warren’s west side. Everything he knew about music then, he learned in church. “There was some serious improvisation going on at St. James Church of God in Christ,” Jones recalled with a wide grin. “The organist would dialogue with the drummer and the guitar player and they would improvise off each other. I would always wonder why this wasn’t happening on the radio.” Sean Jones performs at Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown, as part of Photo Those early gospel music days GALLERY YSU’s Centennial Celebration. trained Jones to appreciate intricate melodies and harmonies. When his elementary school band director Jessica Turner introduced “Some people think it all happened overnight, but it him to jazz with a gift of two recordings by legendary musireally didn’t,” Jones said of his early success. “It happened cian Miles Davis, he was hooked. over about three years, and there was a lot of hard work and “I’d never heard jazz before, and when I heard it, I knew discipline involved. Like I tell my students, if you want to that was it,” he said. “That’s what I was looking for.” make money playing music and you don’t have discipline, Now 30, Jones is considered a rising star in the jazz forget about it.” music world. Jones began playing the trumpet in fifth grade, and he He graduated from YSU’s Dana School of Music in was already an accomplished jazz musician by the time he 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in classical trumpet perforarrived at YSU as a freshman. He would spend his days mance and then went on to earn a master’s degree in trumpet in class, and then head for clubs in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, performance with a jazz emphasis from Rutgers University. Columbus, Detroit and beyond to play and to listen to other A prolific performer and songwriter, Jones is lead trumartists until the early morning hours. peter for the celebrated Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Three YSU faculty members – associate professor ChrisNew York, a band co-founded and directed by his hero, jazz topher Krummel and the late professors Tony Leonardi and great Wynton Marsalis. He’s performed on every continent Esotto Pelligrini – stand out in Jones’s memory, but he has except Australia. high praise for all the teachers at the Dana School of Music. His trumpet playing was featured on a Grammy-nom“YSU has some of the most amazing teachers in the world,” inated recording by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra in 2004, he said. “They have the knowledge that a teacher has to have, and that opened the door for a recording contract with Mack and they also care about their students on a very human level. Avenue Records. Since then Jones has released four jazz They communicate like brother to brother or father to son.” recordings of his own, and a fifth is in the works. Now living in Pittsburgh, Jones is working to bring a The Jazz Journalists Association nominated the YSU major jazz festival back to Pittsburgh and focusing on his alumnus for Trumpeter of the Year in 2007, a JazzTimes solo career in hopes of being nominated for a Grammy on Magazine reader poll named him Best New Artist that same his own. year and Downbeat Magazine ranked him a “Rising Star” in Besides music, Jones enjoys cooking and good eating. 2006 and 2007. “When I come home to Warren, I’ve got a whole lot of places But while he loves to perform, Jones says his highest I want to go eat,” he said, playfully patting his stomach. goal was to teach on a college level. He was just 25 when he “Eli’s Bar-B-Que, Charlie Staples Bar-B-Q, Belleria Pizza. joined the faculty at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as a I can’t wait!” full-time assistant professor of trumpet and jazz studies.

Winter 2009


Class ’50s


Thomas M. Fabek of North Olmsted,

’50 AB, recently celebrated his 50-year anniversary as a member of the Kiwanis Club of North Olmsted.

Albert Yurko of

Kissimee, Fla., ’52 BA, was honored by the Florida Bar Association for 50 years of dedication to the practice of law. Now retired, Yurko earned his law degree at the University of Miami Albert Yurko in 1957 and had been a civil trial lawyer with a private law practice in Kissimee since 1958.

Carmen John Leone of Poland, ’56

BA, was named the Greater Youngstown Italian Festival 2008 Man of the Year. Leone earned his master’s degree from the University of Florida in 1958, and his Ph.D. from Kent State University in 1974. He taught at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, retired in 1991 as associate professor of English and theater arts, then began teaching at YSU.


research coordinator at Forum Health Cancer Care Center.

Lloyd “Buzz” Waterhouse of Park

James D. Hetherington of Bethany,

Okla., ’66 BSBA, recently completed 33 years as an adjunct professor of marketing and management at Oklahoma City University. He retired in 1990 as a supervisory education specialist in the Federal Aviation Administration training air traffic control technical instructors. Hetherington earned an MBA from Oklahoma City U. in 1973 and an MLS in management from the University of Oklahoma in 1979.


Los Angeles, ’60 BM in voice and music literature, is a professor of vocal arts at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California. He spends his summers as a Gary Glaze teacher and performer at several venues: the International Vocal Institute in Hvar, Croatia; the Pacific Vocal Institute on Vancouver Island, British Columbia; and the International Lyric Academy in RomeViterbo, Italy. Glaze also collaborates regularly with Canadian pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald in recitals, most recently for the 2008 California Music Teachers Convention.

Anthony Mastrangelo of New Castle, Pa.,’61 BSBA, was elected mayor of New Castle in November 2007. Mastrangelo Anthony Mastrangelo Youngstown State University

City, Utah, ’73 BS, ’80 MBA, has been named to the board of directors for Axis Pointe Inc. in Salt Lake City, an asset management software and outsourced post-construction customer service firm. Waterhouse also serves on the boards of The Atlantic Mutual Companies, Digimarc Corporation, i2 Technologies, and Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College. Previously he served as president and chief executive officer of Harcourt Education, and he led a successful effort to sell the company that culminated in a $5 billion transaction. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Pennsylvania State University.

William Boccia of Howland, ’74 BS in

James E. “Ted” Roberts of

Youngstown, ’70 BA, has been elected to serve a three-year term as District 13 representative on the Board of Governors for the Ohio State Bar Association. Roberts earned his law degree at the University of Akron School of Law. He also served as part-time in-house counsel for the Youngstown Board of Education and as first assistant law director for the city of Youngstown.

Beverly Hooper Brunker of Boardman,

Gary Glaze of


moved back to his hometown after retiring recently from a career in the health care field. He has a master’s degree in hospital administration from Columbia University.

’71 Associate, ’92 BS, both in nursing, was appointed manager of medical oncology for Humility of Mary Health Partners. A registered nurse and an oncology certified nurse, she previously served as clinical nurse manager and clinical

biology, has been appointed director of ancillary and intensive care services at St. Joseph Health Center, Warren. Boccia also earned his associate degree in nursing from Kent State University and is the former nurse manager for St. Joseph’s intensive care unit, ambulatory care center, pre-admission testing and pain management. He is a certified provider and instructor for both basic life supWilliam Boccia port and advanced cardiac life support.

Michael Lacivita of Youngstown, ’51 BSBA, won’t reveal his secret, but the six-foottall sweet Italian pepper plants he grows in containers have earned him blue ribbons at the Canfield Fair for four consecutive years. Lacivita said his grandchildren are the only ones privy to his pepper-growing secret. Lacivita retired in 1986 as corporate safety and security director of the former Commercial Intertech in Youngstown and spent 20 years as quality control manager and production superintendent at Republic Rubber, a division of the Aeroquip Corp. An avid writer and photographer, Lacivita’s photograph of an Amish farmer at work made the cover of the autumn 2008 edition of Rural Heritage, a bimonthly farming and logging journal. He’s also had more than 300 articles published since he started writing at age 65, including a regular column on the opinion pages of The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown. “It just goes to show that you can’t throw in the towel at 65,” he said. A U.S. Navy combat veteran of World War II, Lacivita has been named to the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

Class Notes Jan Cefalu of Canfield, ’74 BS in educa-

tion, ’76 master’s degree in guidance and counseling, was named the Greater Youngstown Italian Festival’s 2008 Businesswoman of the Year. Cefalu was a guidance counselor in the West Branch School District for 13 years, taught at Indiana Girls School in Indianapolis, then joined State Farm Insurance as an agent in 1989. She’s been an Ambassador Traveler with the company for the last 17 years, has a State Farm office on Western Reserve Road in Poland and is president and owner of Classy Coach Tours.

Robert E. Dennison of Austintown, ’74 BS in marketing, recently accepted a position as a sales associate for Aven Fire Systems in New Castle, Pa.

George Shay of Newton Falls, ’75 BE,

’91 BS in computer science, has been invited by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying to become a member of its development committee, which develops and administers the Professional Engineering licensure test. Shay has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Technology at YSU.

Robert A. Rostan of Boardman, ’78

BSEd, ’82 MSEd, is the new superintendent of the Struthers Local Schools. Rostan’s 30-year career in education has included a succession of teaching and administrative positions, and he most recently served as superintendent of the Leetonia Exempted Village School District.

Thomas J. Occhipinti of Nashville, ’78 BA in psychology, wrote a song, “Video Diary,” that has been licensed to Panasonic Corp. for an internet promotional campaign on their company Web site. Occhipinti also authored an audio-book, “Tools, A Personal Memoir,” which was recently published.


John S. Gulas of

Chagrin Falls, ’80 BA, has been named chief operating officer at Farmers National Bank. Formerly president and chief executive officer of Sky Trust Company N.A. in Cleveland, Gulas has 25 years John Gulas of bank management experience. He earned a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1983.

Daryll Collins of Cincinnati, ’81 BA in

commercial art, a professional cartoonist, was presented a top award by the

National Cartoonists’ Society for illustrations he created for Boys’ Life magazine. Collins was known locally as the artist featured on a children’s television program called “The Barney Bean Show.” He has worked for Gibson Greeting Card Company, Sports Illustrated for Kids and Weekly Reader.

Valerie Ann Kokor of Atlanta, ’82 MBA, was named a 2008 Distinguished Alumna for Gannon University in Erie, Pa., where she earned her bachelor’s degree in foreign languages in 1980. She has worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 25 years and is currently the Acting Chief of the Program Services Branch in the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response.

Joseph V. Warino of Canfield, ’82 BE,

was chosen as president-elect of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers. Warino is Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer, a past president of the Mahoning Valley Chapter of OSPE and the immediate past president of the Engineers Foundation of Ohio, OSPE’s educational foundation.

Lorraine Atwood of Fostoria, Ohio, ’83

BA, is director of the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library in Fostoria. The former director of the Hubbard Public Library where she was employed for 17 years, Atwood has a master’s degree in library science from Kent State University.

Philemon E. Rheins of Buffalo,

degree in organizational leadership/human resource management and development from NOVA Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale. She also earned a master’s degree in educational leadership/administration from NOVA UniDenise Lindheim versity and is employed as instructional staffing administrator with the district school board of Collier County in Naples.

Christopher Lozier of Houston, ’87 BS

in accounting, was recently promoted to principal at UHY Advisors, a tax and business consulting firm, in the enterprise risk advisory services department. Lozier joined UHY after nine years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and he also served as director of internal controls at Reliant Energy and BMC. He is a certified public accountant, a certified internal auditor and a certified information systems auditor.

Tony Jones of Atlanta, Ga., ’88 BSAS, was recently promoted to regional training specialist with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals covering the Southeastern United States.

Tony Jones

N.Y., ’84 AAB in accounting technology, ’90 AB in American studies, ’99 MA in history, was presented the U.S. Dept. of Labor Secretary’s Exceptional AchievePhilemon Rheins ment Award for his success in investigating and negotiating racial discrimination settlements of more than $929,649 that impacted 311 victims. Rheins has been employed for six years as a compliance officer in the Dept. of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program.

Karen A. Clayton of

Timothy B. Cutright of Oak Harbor,

James T. Calderone of Cleveland, ‘89 BE,

Denise R. Grace Lindheim of Naples,

James Calderone

Wash., ’86 AB in history, was promoted in July to commander of Marine Aviation Training Group 53, where he will oversee 150 Marines who provide administration and logistical support for the EA-6B Prowler community. Col. Cutright joined the Marine Corps in 1987 and graduated last year from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces with a master’s degree in national resource management. Fla., ’86 BSEd, has earned a doctoral

Columbiana, ’88 MS in Education Administration, has been named coordinator of disability services for the Marion G. Resch Center for Student Progress at YSU. Clayton has a BS in special education and elementary educaKaren Clayton tion from Kent State University and retired from the Youngstown City Schools in July after 17 years as an elementary school principal in the Youngstown and Warren school districts. was given new and expanded responsibilities as part of the reorganized management team for Louis Perry & Associates, an engineering and architectural firm based in Wadsworth, Ohio. Calderone is the company’s project director.

Winter 2009


Three YSU alumni Army brass – from left,

Maj. Gen. Don Infante, ’58, Maj. Gen. Robert Lynn, ’54, and Maj. Gen. Matthew Kambic, ’82 – were special guests for a

campus memorial service last November at Veteran’s Plaza. The event honored YSU students, faculty and staff who died while on active duty in the military. Kambic is Assistant Adjutant General for the Army Ohio National Guard in Columbus. He earned his BSBA at YSU, where he received his commission through the Army ROTC program, and in 1995 earned an MS in administration from Central Michigan University. Infante, who earned a BSEd in Mathematics at YSU, and Lynn, who earned a BSEd in health and physical education, are both retired.

Ronda Rakes of

Lawton, Okla., ‘89 BS Industrial Engineering, is a senior industrial engineer and department supervisor for Halliburton Energy Services, an oil field services company. Karen Cohen of East Palestine, ’89 BSBA in Ronda Rakes accounting, ’90 MBA, was inducted in September to the East Palestine Hall of Fame. Cohen is a partner and accountant at Packer Thomas, a certified public accounting firm, the first woman to achieve that status at the firm.


Keith Rubenstein of Chicago, ’90 BA in

fine arts, is managing partner and senior vice president of sales for MedPro Imaging Inc., which sells ultrasound equipment around the world. Rubenstein has been employed in the medical ultrasound industry for 14 years, previously with Philips Medical Systems and Zonaire Medical Systems, and joined MedPro in 2007.

Dr. Lori A. Crowl of Salem, ‘91 BS,

was inducted in September to the East Palestine Hall of Fame. Dr. Crowl is on staff at Salem Community Hospital and is affiliated with Prima Health Care. She completed her medical degree through the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy through YSU’s and completed her medical residency in Youngstown.

Susan E. Petersen of

Susan Petersen


Chardon, ’93 BA, was named to Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine’s 2008 Class of Forty Under 40, which recognizes the 40 most influential people in Northeast Ohio under the age of 40. Petersen, an attorney with the Chardonbased law firm Petersen & Ibold, is immediate past

Youngstown State University

president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association. She earned her law degree at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Gary Heasley of Fort Wayne, Ind., ‘93

BSBA in accounting, has been given additional responsibilities in his position as executive vice president for strategic planning and business development at Steel Dynamics Inc. Heasley, a CPA, joined the company as vice president and chief financial officer in 2005 and assumed his current position in 2007.

Amy Sue St. John of Sahuarita, Ariz.,

’93 BA in psychology, is teacher certification program advisor for Pima Community College and is pursuing a doctorate in school psychology at Capella University. She has a master’s degree in educational counseling from the University of Phoenix.

Lisa McGlamery Geene of Middle-

sex, N.J., ’93 Master of Music, teaches fourth and fifth grade music and choir at the School District of Chatham in Chatham, N.J. Geene earned her bachelor’s degree in music at Ohio State Lisa McGlamery Geene University in 1991, and she attained National Board Certification in Early/Middle Childhood Music in 2006.

Maria Carson of Warren, ’94 BSBA

accounting, was presented the 2008 St. Louise de Marillac Award by Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Youngstown, an honor presented annually to an employee who exemplifies and shows dedication to the agency’s mission. A 45year veteran of the agency, Carson has been fiscal director for Catholic Charities Regional Agency for the past 12 years.

Shannon M. Kosek of Mansfield,

Ohio, ’95 BS in education/elementary education, was promoted to executive director of elementary education for the Mansfield City Schools. The former director of the district’s Office of School Improvement, Kosek has a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of North Florida and is completing qualifications for her school superintendent licensure at Ashland University.

Patrick Pacalo of Boardman, ’95

MA, has published his second nonfiction book, Cold Warfare II: Political Terror. Pacalo also publishes The History and Politics Newsletter six times a year.

Steven D. Shandor of Youngstown,

AB ’98, MA ’02, has joined the litigation practice group of Day Ketterer Attorneys at Law in Canton. Atty. Shandor is a former Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Shandor and has extensive jury and bench trial experience.

Joe Pinciaro of

Boardman, ’98 BSBA in industrial marketing, has joined The Brennan Financial Group’s Poland office as registered representatives with New England Securities. Joe Pinciaro

Robert Carter of Fremont, Ohio, ’98 BA in organizational communication, started a family-oriented recreation business in his hometown last summer. Journey’s Family Amusement Center includes mini-golf, a game arcade, a 150-person jungle gym, concessions and party rooms. Previously employed as a recruiting director for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Carter also operates a home-based recruiting company, Retrac Consultants LLC in Fremont.

Marla SferraPieton of Hubbard,

Kevin C. Kirk of Hubbard, ’95 BA, ’99 MA, was recently promoted to senior analyst at the Progressive Insurance Information Technology Product and Acquisition center in Mayfield Village, Ohio.

Marla Sferra-Pieton

’99 BSBA, is senior director of marketing for Quaker Steak & Lube Franchising Corp., Sharon, Pa. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in media management at Kent State University.

Class Notes Matt Kaulen of Hilliard, Ohio, ’99

BSBA, was recently promoted to consultant at Nationwide Insurance International’s headquarters in Columbus. A certified public accountant, Kaulen had been a supervisor at Hill, Barth, and King LLC in Youngstown before joining Nationwide.


Joshua Aikens of

Poland, ’01 BSBA, ’08 MBA, has been named executive director of the Home Builders-Remodelers Association of Mahoning Valley. Formerly deputy executive director of the association, Joshua Aikens he is active with Boardman Rotary. His wife, the former Kimberly Kerr,’03 BSE and ’08 MSED, is also a YSU alumna.

Joe Gregory of Canfield, ’01 BSB, has

been named executive vice president by the Norfolk Admirals, a professional hockey team based in Norfolk, Va. Gregory also serves on the American Hockey League Board of Governors.

Sean Christopher Teets of Ruston, La.,

’01 BA in vocal performance, earned a doctorate in vocal performance with a secondary emphasis in choral conducting and opera staging from the University of Northern Colorado. An assistant professor and director of choral activities at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., Teets has a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. He conducted a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Northwest Colorado Symphony in 2007 and traveled to Switzerland last summer where he was assistant conductor and performed at the Lucerne Choral Festival.

JoAnn Stock of Youngstown, ’02

BSBA, ’04 MBA, has been named director of development for Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley. A certified fund-raising executive, she had been director of marketing and resource development for United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Thomas Wakefield of Slippery

Thomas Wakefield

Rock, Pa., ’02 BS in mathematics and AB in economics, has earned a doctorate in pure

mathematics from Kent State University and is employed as a mathematics instructor at Slippery Rock University. Wakefield also holds a master’s degree in math from KSU.

Richard James “R.J.” Basile Jr.

of Youngstown, ’02 BSBA, ’07 MS in education, is a special education teacher at Struthers High School. He is also pursuing a master’s degree in education leadership and principal Richard Basile Jr. certification at Edinboro University.

Brian Racz of Austintown, ’03 BA

History and BSEd, ’07 MS educational administration, was selected as Teacher of the Year at Boardman High School by the graduating class of 2008. Racz is in his fifth year on the faculty, teaching advanced placement government and world history. He also coordinates the model United Nations program at Boardman, serves as debate coach for the school’s speech and debate team and sits on the Youngstown District Committee for the Ohio High School Speech League.

his Certified Financial Planner designation from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Nicole Bradford of

Brooklyn, N.Y., ’03 BM in education, is in her sixth year as a music teacher at The Manhattan High School in New York City. She also teaches private music lessons and has played clarinet in several off- Nicole Bradford Broadway musicals. She has master’s degrees in music and special education and in school administration, both from Mercy College.

Megan A. Kerrigan of Hubbard, ’03 BS

in education, is elementary library media specialist for the West Middlesex Area School District in Pennsylvania. She earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University in 2005, a master’s in library and information science from Kent State University in 2007 and completed a principal certification program through Gannon in 2008.

Katie K. Fleming Glass of Cincin-

nati, ’03 BE in mechanical engineering, earned a doctor of philosophy in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in May 2008. While completing her degree, Glass presented her research work at six international meetings, including events sponsored by the Society of Cryobiology and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and authored six peerKatie Glass reviewed publications. She is a scientist/engineer for Procter & Gamble.

Steven Mowry of Boardman, ’03 BSBA, has completed the Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor program through Merrill Lynch and received the CRPC designation. Mowry joined Merrill Lynch’s Canfield office five years ago and has earned Steven Mowry

Jennifer Walker of Canfield, ’94 BSEd and ’99 MEd, an English teacher at East High School in Youngstown, was named the 2009 Ohio Teacher of the Year in December by the Ohio Department of Education. A 10-year veteran of the Youngstown City Schools, Walker teaches English and Advanced Placement Literature and Composition to students in grades nine through 12, serves as lead literacy teacher and as chairperson of the school’s English department. She was selected from among four finalists by a statewide review panel following a grueling interview process. Walker said she thought she was chosen for the award because of her passion and love for teaching and her students, and for her flexible approach to teaching. “No two days are the same,” she said. “You may spend hours on lesson plans but then the students dictate where it goes.”

Winter 2009


In Memoriam

Richard Pirko, ’00 Richard Pirko, 55, show producer and technician for YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, died Oct. 15 at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center in Chardon. An amateur pilot, he had suffered an apparent heart attack several days earlier at a small airport in the Chardon area. Pirko earned a bachelor’s degree in combined science at YSU in 2000. He had been a full-time employee in the Department of Physics and Astronomy for 20 years, but Warren Young, the department’s interim chair, said he had worked at the planetarium as a student and contract employee since the mid-1970s. He devised an effective method for painting planetarium domes and spent some of his vacations painting domes for other colleges and universities. He also raised horses with his wife, Victoria, on their small farm in Southington. “We’ll feel the loss everyday,” Young said. “He had a unique combination of talents.” The Department of Physics and Astronomy has established a fund to commission a sundial in Pirko’s memory. Call 330-941-3616 for more information.

Jennifer Starr of Tempe, Ariz., ’05 As-

sociate in applied science and ’07 BA in general studies, recently accepted a position as enrollment advisor for the School of Public Policy and Administration at Walden University.

Benjamin A. Kyle of Hubbard, ’05

BSBA in finance, is a licensed embalmer and funeral director and represents the fourth generation to join the family business of Stewart-Kyle Funeral Home in Hubbard, Ohio. Kyle graduated magna cum laude from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. He is vice president of Mahoning-Trumbull-Columbiana Counties Funeral Directors Association.

Timothy M. Shade of Newton, Kan.,

’06 BM, has been named director of instrumental music at Bethel College in south central Kansas. He earned a master’s degree in music with an emphasis on performance and conducting from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., where he also served as a teaching assistant in the band department.

Katie Krichko of Scottsdale, Ariz., ’06 BA in hospitality management, is activity and volunteer coordinator for Sunrise Senior Living, an assistedliving company in Virginia. Katie Krichko

Gina Abrams of Bladensburg, Md., ’06

Raquel B. Pacheco of

Canfield, ’04 BSBA in finance, has earned a designation as a Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor after completing a training program through Merrill Lynch. Raquel Pacheco Pacheco is part of Merrill Lynch’s Canfield office and has worked in the financial services industry since 1997.

Hannah Rodabaugh of Boulder, Colo.,

’05 BA, has her poetry included in A Sing Economy, a poetry anthology, and in Ludlow Garage, a Cincinnati-based poetry journal. She was also featured in a documentary about five young female poets, titled “Five Oxford Poets,” that debuted at the 2006 Cambridge (UK) Women’s Poetry Festival. Rodabaugh recently earned a master’s degree in English and creative writing from Miami University of Ohio and is pursuing an M.F.A. in poetry and poetics at Naropa University, where she serves as a writing fellow.


Youngstown State University

BSEd, is in her second year as a kindergarten teacher at Dodge Park Elementary School in the Prince George’s County Public School System.

Hayley McEwing of

Boardman, ’06 BA in sociology, a children’s librarian with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, has been selected to Hayley McEwing participate in the American Library Association’s 2009 Emerging Leaders Program. McEwing earned a master’s degree in library and information science from Kent State University.

Gabriel J. Illes III of Boardman, ’06

BSBA in accounting, ’08 MBA, and Christine R. Graygo of Cornersburg, ’06 BSBA in accounting, have joined Schroedel, Scullin & Bestic LLC, CPAs and Business Advisors, as team accountants.

Jennifer Lynne Thomas Gerbasi of

Bellefontaine, Ohio, ’06 BS in biological sciences, has earned her doctor of dental surgery degree from Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry. She is a staff member of Lima Dental Associates in Lima, Ohio.

Karen Varga of Brook Park, Ohio,

’07 BA in Spanish and international relations, has been awarded a Rotarian International Ambassadorial Scholarship for graduate study in South America for the 2009-10 academic year. She expects to pursue an advanced degree at a university in either Venezuela or Chile.

Noelle Nackino of Tallahassee, Fla., ’07

BA in theater, played the female lead in the feature film “Fine-Tune,” which was made in Youngstown last summer by filmmaker Chris Rutushin of River and Heron Productions. Nackino is pursuing a master’s degree in scenic design at Florida State University.

Steve Raseta,

’07 BSBA in finance, has joined The Brennan Financial Group office in Poland, Ohio, as a registered representative with New England Securities.

Steve Raseta

Becky Varian of East Liverpool, ’08

MSEd, has been appointed coordinator of the Marion G. Resch Center for Student Progress at YSU. Her career in education spans 19 years as a teacher at Ohio Valley Technical College and East Liverpool Christian Middle School.


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Let YSU Magazine share it with your fellow alumni. New jobs, promotions, new business ventures, awards and other accomplishments are all welcome. When you write, please include your YSU graduation year and degree, city of residence and a contact phone number or e-mail address. E-mail to or mail to: Marketing and Communications, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

YSU Winter 2009 Alumni Magazine  

Alumni Magazine

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