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Winter 2010


On the Cover YSU traditionally honors its past presidents by hanging their portraits in the foyer of Tod Hall, and artist Jeffrey Martin has been commissioned to paint a portrait of President David C. Sweet in preparation for his retirement on June 30 (see story on page 13). Our cover photo shows one of the two small sample paintings Martin created for Sweet. In this version the president is seen standing at the window in his office, with YSU’s logo atop the AT&T Tower in the background. ———————————

YSU President

David C. Sweet

Vice President for University Advancement

George McCloud

Executive Director of Marketing & Communications

Director of University Communications

Magazine Editor

Layout Design Artist


Graduate Assistant

Melissa Sullivan

Undergraduate Intern

Andrea Armeni

Sports Contributor

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Jean Engle, ’86

Chief Development Officer

Paul McFadden, ’84

Executive Director of Alumni and Events Management

Shannon Tirone, ’94

YSU Board of Trustees Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary Student Trustees

Mark W. Van Tilburg

Ron Cole

Cynthia Vinarsky Renée Cannon, ’90 Bruce Palmer Carl Leet

Trevor Parks

Scott R. Schulick Sudershan K. Garg Millicent Counts Larry DeJane John R. Jakubek Harry Meshel John L. Pogue Carole S. Weimer Franklin S. Bennett Jr. Daniel J. DeMaiolo Lyndsie Hall

Youngstown State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. Youngstown State University – A Magazine for Alumni and Friends (ISSN 2152-3754), Issue 3, Winter 2010, is published quarterly by the YSU Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Periodicals Postage Paid at Youngstown, Ohio. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Youngstown State University, Office of Marketing and Communications, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. Direct letters to the editor, comments or questions to the address above, call 330-941-3519 or e-mail 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





Sports – YSU welcomes new football coach Eric Wolford.


Around Campus – Campus news and photos.

COVER STORY – Portrait of a President – a look at President David C. Sweet’s decade of service to the university and the community.



Alumni Spotlight – Profiles of three YSU alumni who are making an impact on their world.

Editor’s Note: The winter edition of YSU

Magazine includes our 2008-09 Annual Report, recognizing YSU alumni and friends who support the university through their generous contributions. The annual report is not included in this online edition of the magazine, in consideration of the privacy of YSU’s donors. To obtain a print copy of the magazine, including the annual report, please call 330-941-3519, or send an e-mail with your name and mailing address to

DEPARTMENTS 2 President’s Message 14 Alumni News 18 Class Notes

Wintry Campus View

Check out YSU Magazine's online edition at

The AT&T Tower, newly topped with YSU's illuminated logo, is framed by a snow-covered branch on the YSU campus.

W i n t e r

President’s Message

Together, we’ve come a long way in 10 years

David C. Sweet, President

In preparation for my remarks at commencement this past December, I came across this quote from Henry Ford: COMING TOGETHER is a beginning. KEEPING TOGETHER is progress. WORKING TOGETHER is success. I told students that the process of bringing people together, developing partnerships and collaborating with colleagues, is at the center of all successful ventures, whether it be running a business, leading a non-profit organization or – for that matter – coaching a winning football team. As I prepare to retire as president of Youngstown State University this summer, and I begin to reflect on the last decade at YSU, Mr. Ford’s quote continues to stick in my mind. For all of the success that we have achieved – including dramatic increases in enrollment and diversity, record-setting fundraising, state-of-the-art campus capital improvements and new highs in faculty and staff grant activity – at the center are dozens upon dozens of talented and dedicated individuals, coming together, keeping together and working together to make Youngstown State University the growing, progressive educational institution that it is today. Among these individuals are thousands of loyal and proud Penguin alumni, from across the world and from all walks of life; supportive and generous donors committed to enhancing the university’s presence in the lives of its students and in the region it serves; accomplished faculty, staff and administrators determined to help every student reach his or her educational and professional goals; and government, business and community leaders, who understand and appreciate the important role that YSU plays in the economic future of the region. While serving as president of YSU over these past 10 years has been rewarding on many levels, nothing has afforded me more satisfaction – both professionally and personally – than being part of a team of individuals so connected to and engaged in the university and so devoted to helping ensure its health and prosperity for decades to come. We have demonstrated that Mr. Ford’s formula works. We have come together; we have persevered, persisted and stayed together; and we have, in fact, been successful in working together. Sincerely,

  David C. Sweet

F rom the


Dear Readers,   YSU is on the brink of some major changes, with President David C. Sweet set to retire June 30, concluding a decade of service to the university. YSU’s Board of Trustees expects to name a new president by the end of February. This issue of YSU Magazine takes a look back at Dr. Sweet’s legacy – the growth, DESK successes and advancements at YSU during his 10 years at the helm. Our annual report does some reminiscing, too, celebrating the remarkable increase in philanthropy during the Sweet era and thanking the thousands of alumni and friends who have made it all possible. Your YSU Magazine is also changing. Under a revamped distribution strategy that took effect last fall, all YSU donors, recent graduates and members of the YSU Alumni Society now receive the publication four times a year. Alumni not included in any of those groups, however, will get the magazine twice annually as in the past – either in winter and summer or in spring and fall. We made the distribution change to reduce mailing costs, but we don’t want to disappoint. If you’re a YSU graduate and want to receive the publication by mail each quarter, send us an e-mail or letter and we’ll add you to the list of quarterly subscribers. Or register for e-mail links to our user-friendly online edition at When you sign up, we’ll send you links four times a year so you’ll never miss a single issue.   We look forward to keeping you informed as YSU continues to grow and evolve, and we love feedback. You’re always welcome to telephone, write or e-mail me with story suggestions or comments. Thanks for reading YSU Magazine and for supporting Youngstown State University.


Cynthia Vinarsky Editor, YSU Magazine


Eric Wolford

named Penguins’ head football coach New head football coach Eric Wolford says he’s determined to get the program back on top, but it will take a concerted effort by the entire university and Youngstown community. “Not one person is bigger than this team or this program or this university,” Wolford said at a press conference in late December where he was introduced as YSU’s sixth head coach. “If we’re all on the same page, and we want to get back to what the expectations are, it’s going to take a community effort. I’m calling on you. I can’t do it alone, but we can do it together.” More than 200 university and community supporters attended the press conference in the DeBartolo Stadium Club. Wolford, 38, a graduate of Ursuline High School in Youngstown, replaces Jon Heacock, who resigned in November after nine seasons as head coach. Wolford was running-game coordinator and offensive line coach at the University of South Carolina in 2009. Prior to that, he spent two seasons at the University of Illinois in the same position. He also previously was an assistant coach at Arizona, North Texas, Houston, South Florida, Emporia State and Kansas State universities. “Coach Wolford comes to Youngstown State with an impressive coaching background and we are more than happy to welcome him to our football family,” President David C. Sweet said. “He will represent our university in a first-class manner and is very highly regarded throughout the collegiate ranks. He is a great fit for our community, university and football program.” Wolford said he is happy to return to his hometown. “I’m ecstatic to have this opportunity,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this community embracing us, embracing our staff. We love football. We love being here. This is a special moment for my family. I want you to know, this is not going to be done alone; we’re going to do it together.” For more information on Wolford and all YSU athletics, visit www.ysu. edu/sports/.

Eric Wolford

Winter 2010


Around Campus

Around C






University Operates ‘Steel Museum’

The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor on West Wood Street, better known as the “Steel Museum,” is now under management by YSU’s Department of History and the YSU Center for Applied History. Shearle Furnish, dean of the College of Liberal The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor just south of Arts and Social Sciences, said the university negoti- campus is now under the management of YSU. ated the new management agreement with the Ohio Historical Society, which owns the museum. “Our plan is Their Brow: Forging the Steel Valley,” which uses videos, to make this facility a living laboratory for our students,” artifacts, photographs and reconstructed scenes to explore Furnish said. labor, immigration and urban history. It is located just south Designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, the of campus. museum houses a permanent exhibition, “By the Sweat of Under the agreement, OHS will retain ownership of the

facility, while YSU will be responsible for daily operations, including educational programming and events, admission fees, security, utilities and other routine maintenance. Furnish said total cost of operations amounts to about $170,000 a year, to be shared by YSU and the Society.   

President Sweet Wins CEO Leadership Award

Primate Researcher is Skeggs Series Speaker Jane Goodall, whose landmark research on chimpanzees has become a foundation of primate research worldwide, will be the Skeggs Lecture Series speaker at 7:30 p.m. April 20 in Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown. Goodall began her landmark study of chimpanzees in 1960 under the mentorship of famed anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey. She later founded the Jane Goodall Institute, widely recognized for establishing innovative, communitycentered conservation and development programs in Africa, including a youth network called Roots & Shoots that has 150,000 members in 110 countries. She travels 300 days per year, speaking about the environment and personal responsibility. Established in 1966, the Skeggs Lecture Series continues in recognition of Leonard T. Skeggs Sr., one of the founders of YSU. Goodall’s lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Ticket distribution will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 12 through 14 at the Information and PC Lab in Kilcawley Center on the YSU campus. Tickets will be limited to four per person. For more information call YSU Alumni and Events Management, 330-9413497. 4

Youngstown State University

YSU President David C. Sweet was recognized for achieving “outstanding visionary leadership” when the Council for Advancement and Support of Education chose him for its 2009 Chief Executive Leadership Award for Region V in January. CASE is an international association of education advancement officers, including alumni administrators, fundraisers, public relations managers, publications editors and government relations officers. Region V includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In presenting the award, Barb Todd, chair of CASE V and executive director of internal campaigns at Illinois State University, said Sweet was selected because of his leadership in increasing enrollment, boosting minority enrollment, forging connections with the city of Youngstown and raising more than $50 million in the university’s Centennial Capital Campaign. “In a time when the economy dominates the media channels and many small communities are stagnant, this president has kept his eye on improving the surrounding community,” Todd said. “The legacy of a great president is the footprint that he or she leaves behind in the community. This leader will be remembered in the Youngstown area as an insightful and caring community partner.” Sweet was nominated for the award by George McCloud, YSU vice president for university advancement, with the support of Provost Ikram Khawaja and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan. Sweet plans to retire on June 30.

Around Campus

New Atomic Force Microscope Advances Materials Research

Bishop Awarded Honorary Degree at Fall Commencement The Rev. George V. Murry, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, was presented an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree and gave the commencement address at fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 13 in Beeghly Center. About 700 graduates were awarded degrees. Bishop Murry holds a master's of divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., as well as master's and doctorate degrees in American cultural history from George Washington University in Washington D.C. Appointed the fifth bishop of the Youngstown Diocese in January 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, he previously served as auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and as bishop of St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands.

A new microscope that can make surface profile measurements on the order of a billionth of a meter is now part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at YSU. The $150,000 atomic force microscope, which has the capability to image small objects down to the size of an atom, Bishop George V. Murry was funded as part of a $900,000 grant from the Ohio Research Scholarship Program. The program provides grants to strengthen and increase the number of Construction Crews Continue Gateway Project, collaborative research clusters across the state. Student Lounge Improvements Completed The grant will help YSU advance its research into the While construction continues on YSU’s new, $34.3 milsurface of materials such as polymer multilayer structures lion Williamson College of Administration Building, crews being developed in collaboration with Case Western Reserve are also busy completing smaller upgrades at other points on University as part of a National Science Foundation-supportcampus. ed Center for Layered Polymeric Materials, with which YSU Much of the work centers on completing the East is affiliated. Campus Gateway project. Coffelt Hall on University Plaza YSU received the allocation of $900,000 as part of a is being renovated to become the new home for the School $15 million grant to the Research Cluster on Surfaces in of Graduate Studies and Research. The $742,000 project is Advanced Materials, of which YSU is a member along with being paid with state capital funds, said Rich White, associate Kent State and Case Western Reserve universities. director of planning and construction. James Andrews, professor of physics and astronomy, When Graduate Studies moves to Coffelt Hall, physics profesthe two offices that deal most directly with student sor Tom Oder and admissions will be situated at the main entrance to the research scientist university and next to the visitor’s parking lot, White Guilin Mao are the said. first members of Also part of the East Campus Gateway Projthe faculty trained ect is construction of a new formal entrance on the to work with the northeast corner of Tod Hall, including a stairway instrument. Plans are and atrium. The $572,000 project is funded through to broaden its use the state capital budget and private gifts, including a and incorporate the $50,000 donation from the Tod family, and should be microscope into the finished by March. classroom. The university has renovated large student lounges in Cushwa and DeBartolo halls, said Vince Sacco, director of facilities, and new offices are also YSU physics professor planned for the Center for International Studies and Tom Oder works with the new atomic force Programs, to be located in what is now the lounge on microscope in Ward the first floor of Jones Hall. Beecher Hall. The Meanwhile, construction on the new Williamson high-powered microCollege of Business Administration on Rayen Avenue scope will help YSU is on schedule. White said the building is still set to advance its material research efforts. open in time for the start of fall semester classes.

Winter 2010


Around Campus

YSU Professor/Poet Wins Ohioana Book Award

YSU English professor William Greenway was presented the prestigious Ohioana Book Award for Poetry last fall for Everywhere at Once, his seventh full-length collection of poetry. It was the poet-professor’s William Greenway second Ohioana award – his book Ascending Order was the 2004 winner. He also won the Ohioana Library Association’s 2001 Helen and Laura Krout Poetry Award in recognition of his contribution to poetry. “I was surprised,” Greenway said of the 2009 book award. “I didn’t think I would get it because I had received the award in 2004. It was nice considering the living hell I had been through since July 2005. It was a like getting a ‘survivor’s reward’,” he said.

University Dedicates Armed Forces Boulevard Banners recognizing the YSU Office of Veterans Affairs and each of the five branches of the United States military decorate the university’s newly-dedicated Armed Forces Boulevard. Veterans from all over northeastern Ohio joined U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in late October in dedicating the newly completed boulevard, formerly known as Spring Street. The road is a major entrance to campus and recently underwent $1.2 million in renovations, including improvements to the street surface, lighting, sidewalks and landscaping. YSU created the Office of Veterans Affairs last spring to help veterans with the transition from military life to college life. Since then, the university has been cited in national publications such as Inside Higher Ed and Business Officer magazine for its efforts to help veterans, and G.I. Jobs magazine included YSU on its list of the nation’s top Military Friendly Schools. 6

Youngstown State University

Greenway’s wife, former English faculty member Betty, suffered a severe stroke in July 2005, just days before the couple was to return from Wales in the British Isles. She was in a coma for two months, but has since made tremendous progress toward recovery and recently moved into an independent living apartment at Park Vista North in Youngstown. Greenway has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State, a doctorate from Tulane University, has been awarded three YSU Distinguished Professor Awards and has written 600 poems.

WYSU–FM Sets Another Record with Fall Fund Drive

WYSU raised a record $114,758 during its 40th Anniversary Fall Fund Drive, and the number of listeners contributing – a total of 1,252 – also set a station record. The contributor list included 174 new members. “I’m very gratified that so many people have chosen to support this community service, especially considering the economic climate,” said WYSU director Gary Sexton. “The community can continue to count on WYSU–FM for the highest quality news and information programming on radio, as well as excellent music programs.” The week-long fundraising effort featured many giveaways and other incentives and challenges, including daily prize packages, a new member prize basket, and a Pennsylvania member prize package. Listeners Tim McGarry and Nancy Marsh of Hubbard won the grand prize, a trip for two to Ireland. Corporate and foundation support for the drive was provided by Go Ahead Tours, Internet Data Management Inc., Park Vista Retirement Community, The Ruth H. Beecher Charitable Trust, and The Beeghly Family Foundation, all of which provided matches during the pledge drive.

Recession Sparks Interest in Economics; Enrollment Nearly Doubles

The “Great Recession,” as economists have coined the current financial downturn, has resulted in a significant upturn in the number of students interested in economics at YSU. While enrollment of undergraduate economics majors at YSU has remained steady over the past five years, the number of graduate students has nearly doubled in just the last year alone, from 16 in 2008 to 29 in 2009. And the enrollment includes students from near and far, including Cameroon, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India and Nigeria. “There is no doubt that the current economic circumstances in the United States, as well as around the globe, have caused a lot of students to seek out studies in economics,” said Ebenge Usip, professor and director

Around Campus

“The Ghost” Boxes at Beeghly Center YSU’s Beeghly Center was transformed into a boxing arena for Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik’s defense of his world middleweight title against Miguel Espino in December. The fight, in which Pavlik won by a TKO in the fifth round, was broadcast worldwide by pay-per-view. Pavlik retained his WBA and WBO Middleweight Champion titles.

of YSU’s economics graduate program. “We believe that there is great value at this particular time in earning a degree in this discipline.” At YSU, economics majors can earn either a bachelor of arts in economics through the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, or a bachelor of science in business administration in business economics through the Williamson College of Business Administration. On the graduate level, YSU offers master’s degrees in economics and financial economics. “The fact that all of our graduates in the past three years are today gainfully employed or pursuing a Ph.D. degree attests to the quality of our M.A. degree program,” Usip said. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of professional economists is projected to increase from 15,000 to more than 16,000 in the next seven years. Wages are going up as well, with a median starting salary of $50,200, ranking economics sixteenth out of 88 fields in a recent study by the “Payscale Data” website.

Several other YSU students also earned scholarships and other recognition during the fall semester: •

YSU Students Win Study-Abroad Scholarships and Other Honors

Four YSU students were awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this semester, the second consecutive semester that YSU students have won the prestigious scholarship. Winners and the amounts awarded are: Michael Dukes, a history major studying at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, $4,000; Tracey Roscoe, a general education major studying at Yeditepe University, $4,000; Christina Weatherspoon, a geography major studying at Christ University in India, $4,500; Scott Finamore, a sociology major studying at Rangsit University in Bangkok, Thailand, $5,000.

Patrick Reed, LaVonn Snipes, Daniel DeMaiolo and Megan Vendemia, all students in YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration who have demonstrated their commitment to community service, were awarded $500 scholarships by the Home Savings and Loan Co. Michelle Evans, a senior nursing student, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Ohio Nurses Association. A full-time student, registered nurse and mother of three, she will graduate in May. The YSU Student Nurse Association received the “Best Community Health Project” award at the Ohio Nursing Student Association conference in Dublin, Ohio, in recognition of the group’s philanthropic activities. Maria Rohan is philanthropy chairperson and Deanna McCormick is SNA president. Todd DiMascio, Amber Gallagher, Stephanie Haschenburger, Adrienne Sabo, Ashley Basile and Tara Popovich, all members of YSU’s Chapter of the American Marketing Association, completed a marketing survey for U.S. Campus Suites, a private developer constructing a student housing apartment complex across from YSU’s Cafaro House residence hall. YSU Moot Court Team members Travis Watson and Kevin Hulick placed among the top eight teams in the Midwest regional competition of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, advancing to the national competition in Miami; Lauren Mylott and Victoria Rusu finished 11th in the regional competition. As a team, YSU finished fourth out of 10 teams.


Winter 2010


David and Pat Sweet, YSU’s first family for the past decade, pose with a penguin sculpture in the president’s office. The bronze sculpture, “A Gathering of Emperors” by André Harvey, was donated to YSU by Mr. and Mrs. C. Gilbert James Jr.


Youngstown State University

Portrait of a President

A Decade of Service -

An Era of Growth

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high.”


Daniel Burnham, 1846-1912, urban planner

o those who know David C. Sweet the best, it comes as no surprise that he lives his professional life based on the quote of a noted urban planner. For, at heart, that has been, and remains, Sweet’s passion – planning. “It is vital for any organization, especially an institution on the scale of Youngstown State University, to have a vision, a plan to reach that vision and the will and commitment to implement that plan,” Sweet said. In his nearly 10 years as YSU’s president – from the day he moved into the corner office on the second floor of Tod Hall in July 2000 to the day he retires this June – Sweet’s unrelenting efforts to develop planning initiatives across the spectrum of the university, his tenacity in bringing people together to implement those initiatives, and the successes resulting from those efforts may be his most enduring legacies. The enrollment management plan, for instance, helped turn around a decade-long slide in student population. The campus master plan helped set the stage for millions of dollars in brick-and-mortar improvements and expansion, including construction of a new building for the Williamson College of Business Administration and efforts to connect the university more closely with Youngstown’s central business district. The information technology master plan overhauled the university’s administrative computing operations. The Centennial Capital Campaign plan put into place a philanthropic initiative that would exceed $50 million, the single largest fund-raising effort in the university’s history. And an academic strategic plan that created a new College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and a new College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics helped prepare for YSU’s new designation as an urban research university.

“We have, indeed, made big plans,” Sweet said. “More importantly, we have implemented those plans. So, when you compile all of the planning over the years, and you step back and look at the vision that it portrays, I think what you will see is a progressive university that is engaged with its students and engaged in the community, and an institution that is well-positioned to continue to grow and to have an increasingly important educational, economic and social impact on the city and the entire region.”


hen Leslie H. Cochran was president of YSU, soft chairs and a small couch situated around a coffee table decorated a corner of the president’s office. When David C. Sweet took the helm of the university, the upholstered furniture was replaced – with a large, wooden conference table. It was around this table that Sweet met with cabinet and board members, welcomed donors and politicians, hammered out compromises. The table was often littered with memos to read, documents to sign, reports to review, spreadsheets to analyze and maps. Yes, always maps. Sweet is a map guy. Earlier in his career, he held a number of state cabinet posts, including director of the Ohio Department of Development. He also served as commissioner of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. Before coming to YSU, he was dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University for 22 years, where he helped lead efforts to reinvent downtown Cleveland. The task at hand at YSU was not necessarily to reinvent, but to reconnect, revitalize and rejuvenate. A report released shortly before Sweet’s arrival at YSU in July 2000 identified Youngstown as a city stuck in place, mired in mistrust and waiting for the future. “To the same extent, YSU was waiting for its future as well,” Sweet said. The new president quickly identified three areas of priority. • Enrollment, which over the course of the 1990s had dropped by nearly 4,000 students, needed to be righted.

Winter 2010


Portrait of a President…


A glance at President Sweet’s decade at YSU:

July 2000 David C. Sweet becomes YSU’s sixth president. 2000 Sweet forms the Operations Improvement Task Force and asks the state auditor to review all university operations, resulting in more than 100 recommendations for improvements. More than 90 percent have been implemented.


2001 A new master’s degree in environmental studies is introduced. Over the 10 years of Sweet’s presidency, the university will launch one new doctorate program, nine new master’s programs, five new bachelor’s programs and two new associate programs. 2001 YSU joins the Horizon League. 2001 The Board of Trustees approves spending an additional $670,000 to upgrade the planned addition to Bliss Hall, an action that Sweet says set the tone for the university’s approach to quality campus development.

’02 ’03

2003 The $22 million, 408-student University Courtyard Apartments opens in Smoky Hollow, spurring a spurt in on-campus student housing. By 2008, the number of students living on campus jumps to a record 1,291.



2002 YSU partners with the city of Youngstown in developing the Youngstown 2010 comprehensive city plan that includes a master plan for the university, a project that later garners international attention and awards.

Youngstown State University

Diversity, including minority representation in faculty, staff and student ranks, received sharp criticism in the university’s national accreditation report in 1998 and needed to be addressed. • Partnerships with the city, local schools, business and medical communities, private developers and others would be critical to the university’s success. The biggest challenge, it seemed, was enrollment – a driving force financially, academically and psychologically for any university. There were 15,454 students at YSU in 1990. By 2000, the number had nosedived to 11,787. “Enrollment growth is a very complicated formula,” Sweet said. “There is no one single silver bullet. But you begin, first and foremost, with the belief that you can, in fact, turn it around – that it can be done.” In 2001, the numbers began creeping upward. By the middle part of the decade, YSU’s percent enrollment growth was greater than any other public university in the state. By 2009, the numbers surpassed the 14,000 level, a mark that five years earlier seemed unreachable. “If the campus community had not come together, developed a plan and then had everyone – and I mean everyone, from the groundskeepers to the faculty – pulling behind the plan, there is no question in my mind that we would not have been able to make the progress we have been able to make,” Sweet said. Then there was the question of diversity. In 1998, the commission that awards national accreditations criticized YSU’s lack of progress in developing more diverse student and faculty ranks. In 2000, the number of minority students on campus numbered less than 1,400. Today, it has more than doubled to nearly 2,900. In the same period, international student population has increased by about 20 percent and the number of minority employees has jumped by nearly 50 percent. “We needed to change the culture on campus as well as in the community as it relates to diversity,” Sweet said. “We’ve done an important job of recognizing that we live in a diverse country and a diverse world and that our students, as part of their educational experience, need to be engaged.” And, finally, the third element of Sweet’s mantra throughout his presidency – partnerships. It started in 2002 with Youngstown 2010, a collaboration of YSU and the Sweet, right, shares a laugh with mayors, from city, led by Mayors George McKelvey left, Michael O'Brien (Warren), Bob Lucas and Jay Williams (former director of the (Sharon, Pa.) and Jay Williams (Youngstown) city's community development office), during Forté on the Fifty at Stambaugh Stadium. to develop a comprehensive plan for the city, a plan that went on to receive international attention and praise. Sweet says one of the most memorable events of his presidency was when nearly 1,500 people showed up at a forum in Stambaugh Auditorium, convened by Sweet and the mayor, to discuss the city’s future. “If a university campus pulls together, it can make great progress,” Sweet said. “If a city pulls together, it can make great progress. But if the two pull together as one, the synergy creates something very special.” Sweet also teamed with the Rev. John Horner of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the leaders of other institutions along Wick Avenue – YSU’s main thoroughfare – to develop a plan to revitalize the historic Smoky Hollow

neighborhood on the east side of campus. While the regional, state and national economic downturn has delayed implementation of much of the plan, Sweet said he is confident it will happen, “as long as the leadership of this university remains committed to it." He added, "It is going to be a challenge to keep people focused, but it’s very important to the future of the university and the city.” And, in yet another very visible partnership, YSU and the city schools teamed to create Youngstown Early College, a high school program aimed at helping students better prepare for success in college. It was the first program of its kind on a public university campus in Ohio and later was designated a School of Excellence by the Ohio Department of Education. Sweet says another of his most memorable times as president was Youngstown Early College’s first graduating class, when four students received associate degrees. “I can’t imagine a university located in a city with a school district that has the needs like all urban school districts have and turning our back on that and not seeing that as critical to the future of the university and the community,” he said.

’04 ’05

2004 Youngstown Early College, a partnership between YSU and the Youngstown city schools, opens in Fedor Hall. It is the first program of its kind on a public university campus in Ohio and is later designated a School of Excellence.


2005 The $12.1 million Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center opens. The facility is the only rec center on a university campus in Ohio funded entirely through private donations.

2005 Wick Neighbors Inc., a community group led by YSU, unveils a $250 million plan to revitalize Youngstown’s Wick District-Smoky Hollow area and better connect it to the YSU campus.


n a cold, wet Saturday afternoon in November 2000, the clock at the University of Richmond Stadium ticked down to less than three minutes. It was the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs, the first taste that Sweet and his wife, Pat, had of YSU’s football prowess. The Penguins were leading, and YSU fans could not help but look forward to the next round and a fifth run at a national title. But then, in a flash, Richmond scored 10 points in less than two minutes to rally for the victory. “I’ll never forget, third down and five, and our quarterback throws a pass that was intercepted and run back for a touchdown,” Sweet said. “That was a real heartbreaker.” While Sweet made big plans and succeeded in accomplishing many of them, there were also disappointments, including hard-fought losses on the gridiron. The one disappointment, however, that looms as the biggest of all is campus labor relations. In August 2005, two weeks before the start of fall semester classes, more than 400 members of the university’s classified staff union went on strike, walking picket lines at busy intersections around the campus. A week later, about 400 members of the faculty union joined the walkout. In Sweet’s estimation, while there was much hostility on campus about a variety of issues, the strike essentially came down to one key issue: the university’s push to have employees contribute to the costs of their health insurance. “It engendered such an outpouring that it led to a lot of acrimony,” he said. “There’s no question it was a difficult time,” he added. “Having picketers in front of your house during the strike and all of the aftermath of the strike is something that I know Pat and I may never completely recover from, in terms of the dramatic impact it had both symbolically and tangibly on our lives.” The strike ended in time for the start of fall classes (the only semester in Sweet’s tenure that enrollment dropped),

2005 University classified and faculty employees stage strikes. The walkout ends, allowing fall semester classes to start on schedule.


2006 The Centennial Capital Campaign is launched, with a record $5 million gift from the Williamson family and $4 million gift from the Lariccia family. Within four years, the campaign raises more than $50 million, the single largest fundraising effort in YSU’s history.


2006 Nearly 2,200 students receive diplomas during the 2005-06 academic year, the largest graduating class in two decades. 2006 The Board of Trustees endorses the Centennial Campus Master Plan, which calls for significant campus improvements over the next 10 years. The board later approves a $47 million bond issue to fund the projects.

Winter 2010



2007 President Sweet leads a delegation to China and Taiwan to develop new and stronger academic ties and opportunities with universities in the region.


but it left the campus wounded. While a LaborManagement Council formed in the aftermath of the strike got off to a slow start, Sweet said all indications are that the council is now making progress and that labor relations on campus are improving. “We have to find a better way to discuss and agree upon goals,” he said. “In some cases, there will be disagreement. We have to find a better way other than going out on strike, particularly in the environment that we face now.”

2007 University Plaza, including a new visitor’s parking lot and renovated Sweeney Welcome Center, opens as YSU’s main entrance. 2007 YSU reorganizes its academic unit, creating the new College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the new College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. 2007 Provost Robert Herbert drowns while vacationing with family in Costa Rica.

’08 2008 YSU celebrates its Centennial with a variety of events, including the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of Howard Jones, the institution’s first president.

2008 Ground is broken on the $34.3 million Williamson College of Business Administration building. The project is part of a partnership among YSU, the city of Youngstown and the Diocese of Youngstown to improve a blighted area on the south side of campus and to better connect the university to downtown.


Youngstown State University


2008 The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools awards YSU full, continued accreditation.


hat environment, Sweet said, is one dominated in many ways by the current fiscal crisis, especially on the state level. “When I arrived, we were in a time when our state financial resources were getting worse and worse,” he said. “Now, here we are 10 years later, and we’re in the same situation.” Sweet said the “one ray of hope” is that in the halls of power in Columbus, higher education is now given more serious consideration when it comes to setting priorities and doling out state dollars. “Gov. (Ted) Strickland and Chancellor (Eric) Fingerhut (of the Ohio Board of Regents) have done a good job of raising the awareness of higher education and its importance to the future of the state,” Sweet said. “That’s a plus, but there is no question in my mind that the state’s financial situation will be a major challenge for the university going forward.” It’s not the only challenge facing the new president. Fingerhut’s Strategic Plan for Higher Education sets goals for significantly increasing college-going rates across the state. In the Mahoning Valley, that means an additional 6,000 to 8,000 students. How does YSU achieve such an increase, and how does the university absorb the additional students, in terms of physical plant, faculty hires, and other operations? The Strategic Plan also called for the creation of Eastern Gateway Community College in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Jefferson counties and for YSU to become an “urban research university” with increased focus on graduate-level, research-oriented programs, a dramatic shift from YSU’s traditional open admissions philosophy. “It is a transition that is going to take a lot of focus,” Sweet said. “There’s going to have to


2009 Enrollment, on the rise since 2000, surpasses the 14,000 mark for the first time in 16 years. Over the nine-year period, enrollment of minority students has increased approximately 60 percent.

be a buying-in to this new direction. The new president is going to have to articulate that very effectively.”


avid and Pat Sweet have traveled tens of thousands of miles in their roles as YSU president and first lady – from California to Taiwan, Florida to China. 2009 “Everywhere we have gone throughout Ohio and elsewhere, seeing the success of The amount of research and our students – both alumni and current students – has been very gratifying,” he said. other grants received by faculty “Through its students – past and present – YSU continues to make an impression across and staff hits a record $11.7 the globe.” million, more than triple the The Sweets are regulars at football, basketball and other athletic events, both at amount in 2000. Stambaugh Stadium and Beeghly Center and on the road in North Carolina, North Dakota and elsewhere. They also enjoy attending campus lectures, have hosted dozens upon dozens of parties and receptions, and frequently attend musical and theater 2010 President Sweet retires on June 30. performances in Bliss Hall and the downtown DeYor Performing Arts Center. Pat Sweet started “Ladies Only” evenings for campus and community women to enjoy university performing arts. Sweet Portrait to Hang in Tod Hall And then there was Carnegie Hall in New York, where the Dana Portraits of YSU’s five past presidents hang in Wind Ensemble performed in 2006. the foyer of Tod Hall, and a Pennsylvania artist has “The standing ovation that they received, it just sent chills up been commissioned to continue your spine,” Sweet said. that tradition by creating an oil But in the midst of the around-the-clock hustle and bustle portrait of David C. Sweet before his retirement on June 30. of the university presidency, the Sweets also made time for Artist Jeffrey Martin was family – one son in California, one in South Carolina, and two selected from among numerdaughters in Charlotte, N.C. And, oh yes, seven grandchilous candidates by a four-person dren, four of whom have come about since the Sweets came to committee chaired by George Youngstown. In fact, the Sweets plan to re-locate to Charlotte McCloud, YSU’s vice president for university advancement. after retirement. Martin, who holds a master’s Also in the plans is renting an apartment and spending degree in painting and drawseveral months in New York City, visiting friends, museums, ing from Penn State University, ethnic neighborhoods and festivals. “I look forward to getting a has completed more than 700 bagel and a coffee at the corner deli and reading the New York commissioned portraits over the course of his career. His paintTimes,” Sweet said. ings hang in colleges, hospitals, But they intend to keep their connections to Youngstown. capital buildings and courtrooms In 2003, Sweet helped his parents in Rochester, N.Y. to move around the country, and his to the Park Vista Retirement Community, just a couple blocks subjects include Congressmen north of the YSU campus. It was the first time in nearly 50 Bill Thomas and Bill Clinger, U.S. Jeffrey Martin Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, Coloyears that parents and their only child lived in the same city. nel Sanders of Kentucky Fried “There’s no question that it was special for both Pat and me Chicken fame and pro golfer Billy Casper. and for them living in this community together,” he said. The artist was commissioned to complete a Sweet’s father died in 2007, but his 94-year-old mother – 30-by-40-inch oil portrait of Sweet, McCloud said, who Sweet calls the “Energizer bunny” – will remain at Park Vista. with all costs to be paid by private donations. Martin said he began by meeting with Sweet to “So, we obviously will remain in touch with the community here,” he said. discuss his ideas for the portrait and to take photoAs for advice for the new president, Sweet recalls a card that his graphs – he paints from photos rather than requirpredecessor left for him that said in part: Maintain a full court press. ing his subjects to pose. He returned to his studio Sweet said he would leave similar advice, and add a most important in central Pennsylvania to create two small sample word: Persistence. oil portraits. The first (featured on the cover of this edition of YSU Magazine) depicts Sweet standing “Persistence is at the heart of success,” he said. “In my time here, at his second-floor office window with a cluster of we have celebrated the centennial of YSU and the proud past of trees and YSU’s logo atop the AT&T Tower in the this institution. One of the things I hope that I have brought is an background; the second shows Sweet in a darker, upbeat view of a promising future of the university and more conservative interior setting. the community.” Sweet selected the latter for his official portrait


Story by Ron Cole

Presidential Search Update

At press time, the search for a new president of YSU was nearing a conclusion. Four candidates visited campus in January, and the Board of Trustees was hoping to make a decision sometime in February. For updated information, visit

because the conservative background is similar to the other past presidents’ portraits on display at Tod Hall. An unveiling ceremony will be scheduled in May.

Winter 2010


Alumni Board Welcomes New Leaders, New Members YSU’s Alumni Society Board of Directors started out the year with a new president, a new vice president and four new members. Richard A. Crepage, interim administrative director and director of education for the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, assumed the duties of president in January. A three-time YSU graduate, Crepage earned a bachelor’s degree in Richard Crepage education in 1971, a master’s in 1978 and a doctorate in education in 1999. “Youngstown State University has provided me with the education and opportunities to pursue and succeed in a 35-year career in education and a new career in the non-profit

sector,” Crepage said, commenting on his new role. “As we move forward, my goal is to increase awareness of the importance of the Alumni Society as an extremely valuable network and to continue to strengthen the relationship between each of the colleges of YSU and their alumni.” Shelly LaBerto, marketing director and general manager of Chick-fil-A of Boardman, is the new vice president. LaBerto earned her bachelor’s degree in 1990. New members of the society board are: Debbie Eppinger,’92, a vice president and wealth manager in Private Wealth Management at J.P. Morgan; David J. Moore, ’74 and ’77, district commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America; Krista White, ’97 and ’99, marketing coordinator for Armstrong; and Miranda Young, ’04 and ’06, a supervisor for Hill, Barth & King, LLC.

Half Century Club

Members of the YSU graduating class of 1959 celebrated their 50th year class reunion and were welcomed into the university’s Half-Century Club at a luncheon in November. Above, celebrating the milestone event are, from left: front row, Carl Morell, Dr. William Martin, Shirley Gibson, Norman Cassidy and Dr. Earnest Perry; second row, Shannon Tirone, executive director of Alumni and Events Management, David Yeager, Raymond Carter, Col. Thomas Orr, Bernie Kosar Sr., Richard Huebner, Ronald Zetterquist and YSU President David C. Sweet. At right, YSU Alumnus Dr. Earnest Perry, left, chair of the Department of Surgery at Northside Medical Center, accepts a gift from YSU Alumni Society President Richard Crepage at the Half Century Club Luncheon. Perry, who earned his bachelor’s degree in pre-med at Youngstown University in 1959, was guest speaker for the event.


Youngstown State University


SpotlighT Celebrating Accomplished Graduates

Turnpike CEO Keeps His Eyes on the Road Joe Brimmeier, ’70, ’71

Joe Brimmeier has never been one to shy away from he added after four members of one family were tragically conflict or controversy, and he’s found plenty of both in his killed near the turnpike’s Breezewood exit in a 25-car winter role as chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. pileup. The YSU alumnus has successfully lobbied for a series of toll The turnpike is his passion now, but Brimmeier was increases to maintain the 545-mile roadway and launched an mostly interested in football when he came to YSU as a ambitious program to rebuild it from the ground up. freshman in the late 1960s. The Pittsburgh native was award“When I got here ed a four-year football in 2003 they hadn’t scholarship and majored raised tolls in 13 years. in education. His football The bridge outside my career ended early when office window was he suffered a serious back literally falling apart. injury at training camp the Hunks of it would fall summer before his junior into the Susquehanna year, but YSU honored its River,” Brimmeier rescholarship commitment called. “At some point, and Brimmeier completed you need the political his degree. courage to increase As president of YSU’s tolls.” Interfraternity Council his In 2007, he persenior year, an era when suaded Pa. lawmakers campus unrest and war to approve a “publicprotests led to violence on public partnership” some college campuses, called Act 44 that uses Brimmeier worked with turnpike tolls to help university officials to help Joe Brimmeier maintain highways, maintain a peaceful camPhoto by Chrissy J. Baker, Pa. Turnpike Photographer bridges and public pus at YSU. Bill Collins, transit systems statewide. Turnpike revenue has already addthen assistant director of financial aid, and John P. Gillespie, ed $2 billion to road and bridge budgets for the department of Dean of Men, were major influences in his life at that crucial transportation and mass transit agencies across Pennsylvania. time, and he decided to pursue a career in college administraBrimmeier is among leaders now pushing for a controtion. versial plan to toll 311 miles of Interstate 80 and make it a He completed a master’s degree in education at YSU part of the Pa. Turnpike system – a component of Act 44. The and landed a position as student activities director at a small, plan, now awaiting federal approval, would quadruple capital private college, but a year later he was offered a job in investment in the aging interstate and generate billions of county government. That move launched a 38-year career in new dollars for other roads and bridges statewide. The idea government that included a term as Deputy Auditor General has many detractors, but Brimmeier says it’s necessary. of Pennsylvania and eight years as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. “If it’s approved, Pennsylvania would be the first state in Ron Klink. the nation to convert an interstate highway to a toll road, and Though he works and lives in Harrisburg during the I think other states would follow,” he said. “Our roads and week, Brimmeier’s home is in Ross Township, a Pittsburgh bridges are 50 years old or more, and we’ve got to figure out suburb, with his wife Jeanne. They have two adult children a way to rebuild them. The gas taxes that helped construct and one grandson. Calling himself “a car geek,” Brimmeier them aren’t enough.” said he takes a motor trip to Youngstown and the YSU camThe Pa. Turnpike is already a pacesetter, he said, in the pus in his black 1997 Corvette almost every summer. “I had use of sensors, cameras and other technology to improve some great years at YSU. It really helped form my life,” he safety. Brimmeier is most proud of a fog detection system said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience at YSU for anything.”

Winter 2010


Alumni Spotlight

Making Movies is his Passion Art Byrd, ’85, ’92 Art Byrd was just 15 years old when his father gave him an old movie camera. His dad was a sanitation truck driver for the city of Youngstown and often recycled useable items he found at the curb, but for Byrd that gift produced a lifelong fascination with filmmaking. He recalls how he saved up cash from his newspaper route to buy film and batteries for the camera and started making his own, very primitive motion picture. “When I finished it, it took me six more months to save enough money to get the film developed,” Byrd said with a laugh. After that first effort, moviemaking became a hobby, and then a passion. Byrd earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications at YSU in 1985 and began a 21-year photojournalism career as a videographer and director for WFMJ-TV 21 in Youngstown. In 2002, he and a WFMJ reporter won a first place award for best investigative reporting from the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. While photojournalism was his occupation, Byrd felt that filmmaking was his calling. He’s completed 18 films – a 19th is in the works – and several were featured at film festivals such as the Hollywood Black Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Ohio Independent and Video Festival in Cleveland. He deliberately focused on short films, some as brief as three minutes, because he learned that “shorts” are much more likely to be included in film festival programs. With a short film, Byrd explained, he keeps costs down, provides a more manageable production schedule for actors who work with him and offers those performers a wider audience. As a film festival participant, Byrd said, he’s been able to meet and form friendships with some top television and movie directors and other film industry professionals and to view tapings of popular television programs such as “ER” and “The Practice.” In 1992, Byrd earned a YSU associate degree in business management and in 1997 he was a co-founder of the Flick Clique, a group that brought independent films to the Youngstown area and created a community of film-lovers. Now an adjunct instructor teaching history of filmmaking classes in the Theater and Dance Department at YSU, Byrd’s latest project is a 10-minute film titled “Magnify,” an inspirational story about a young football player. He plans to promote it for use in youth-oriented motivational programs at schools and churches around the Mahoning Valley. Byrd is the creator of an Internet arts and entertainment newsletter, A Byrd’s Eye View, and he produces a YouTube channel with the same title. In fact, YouTube has given him close to a million viewers, his biggest audience ever. At press time, Byrd’s short film about a ballet tryout, titled “The Ballet Audition,” had been viewed 911,039 times. 16

Youngstown State University

Art Byrd

Alumni Spotlight

Fighting for Justice in the Courtroom Susan Yarb Petersen, ’93 Growing up the daughter of a Youngstown fire captain, Susan Yarb Petersen had an innate compassion for people in trouble and a knack for writing and speaking. She won several scholarships, including one from the Mudville Fire Co. awarded only to children of firefighters, and enrolled at YSU to prepare for a career in TV news. Petersen was still a student when she got her foot in the door at WKBN-TV in Youngstown by offering to take down Friday night football scores. From there, her TV news career took off. She landed a succession of reporting and anchor positions at WKBN, WTOV in Steubenville/Wheeling, W.Va. and WEWS in Cleveland. But despite the success, she began to have reservations about broadcasting. “You really have to move around a lot to succeed in TV news,” she said, “and I noticed that, as women aged, sometimes they got fired.” Working part-time as a TV news reporter, she went back to school and earned her law degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall School of Law in 1997. Now Petersen is an accomplished and awardwinning personal injury attorney and a partner, with her husband, Todd, in the Chardon, Ohio law firm of Petersen & Petersen. She’s won millions of dollars in settlements for clients in a practice focused on wrongful death, medical malpractice, auto accidents, nursing home negligence and employment discrimination cases. “These are people who have tragic stories to tell, and I’ve been blessed with the ability to tell those stories, to be an advocate,” she said. “I guess you could call me a bleeding heart. I really care about getting justice for my clients.” As a reporter she learned the importance of cultivating relationships, making connections and giving back to her profession, all values that have advanced her law career. News reporting also honed her skill in taking complex in-

formation and breaking it down into language that a jury can understand. Petersen seldom advertises, building her practice through word-of-mouth and accepting only cases she believes in implicitly. “I’ve been able to be very selective in the cases I take,” she said. “If it’s questionable, I don’t take it.” A past-president of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, she was named to Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2008 and serves on the board of directors for the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys. American Airlines profiled her recently on its “Salute to Women in Leadership” radio program and she’s a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for attorneys who have won multi-million dollar settlements. In addition to her success and involvement in the legal profession, Petersen and her husband are the parents of four young children – two boys and two girls between the ages of 8 years and 11 months. When she’s not working, Petersen enjoys cooking, collecting cookbooks and photography – her children are her favorite photo subjects. “Doing what I do, working with people who Susan Yarb Petersen have had unfortunate things happen to them, it’s a reminder not to take anything for granted, that things can happen in an instant,” she said pensively. Then, she added with a laugh, “My poor kids. I try not to keep them in too much of a bubble.” Balancing career and family is a challenge that she and her husband take seriously, and one reason they decided to launch their own practice in January, splitting amicably from a prominent Chardon law firm founded by her husband’s father where both had been working for years. “It’s always a challenge for our generation, if you both work, to maintain a work-life balance,” she said. “If you’re in charge of your own destiny, it’s a lot easier to do.” Alumni Spotlight profiles by Cynthia Vinarsky

Winter 2010


class 60s

Ted Pedas of Farrell, Pa., ’62 BA, ’69 MEd, contributed $30,000 to the Farrell Area School District in September, bringing his total giving to the district to $565,132 Ted Pedas in four decades of philanthropy. Pedas is a former teacher, founder and director of the Ted Pedas Planetarium at Farrell High School, which was named in his honor. He also has a master’s degree in planetarium science from Michigan State University.


Fred Bentfeld of Greer, S.C., ’73 BSBA, has joined Microsoft Corp. as general manager of its U.S. Distribution and Services Group, which encompasses Microsoft’s retail, hospitality, Fred Bentfeld consumer goods and professional services businesses. Bentfeld most recently served as managing partner at Integrys Holdings LLC, and before that he was vice president of sales for IBM Corp.


William DiMarco of Vernon Hills, Ill., ’75 BSBA, is corporate director of accounting operations for IDEX Corp. in Northbrook, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. DiMarco has a master’s degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Joe Tucciarone of Cocoa, Fla., ’76 BS in physics, ’00 Honorary Ph.D., completed 12 animations for a National Geographic Channel documentary about the terraforming of the planet Mars. Joe Tucciarone The program will air on the channel’s “Expedition Week” series. Tucciarone has a master’s degree in physics from the University of Toledo. His dinosaur paintings have been published in magazines such as Time, Discover, and Science; his illustrations and animation sequences have appeared in TV documentaries on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and the Turner Broadcasting System. Bill Brown Jr. of New Albany, Ohio, ’77 BSN and BSAS, was presented the National Association of Emergency Medi-

Bill Brown Jr.

Dr. Stan K. Sujka of Orlando, Fla., ’78 BS in biology, was named “Man of the Year” in 2009 by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Central Florida in recognition of his work to find a cure for blood diseases. A urologic oncologic surgeon with Orlando Urology Associates, he earned his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, did his surgery and urology residency at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a surgical Urologic Oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. David K. Scheetz of Aurora, Ill., ’78 BS in mechanical engineering, was elected president of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, an international not-for-profit technical society of 3,500 lubricaDavid Scheetz tion professionals. Scheetz is an equipment builder engineer for ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties and is a certified lubrication specialist, STLE’s highest technical designation.

Matthew C. Kostek of Columbia, S.C., ’97 BS, left, and Jacob M. Haus of Cleveland, ’01 BS, didn’t know each other as students at YSU, but they’ve become friends and colleagues since both earned their master’s degrees in exercise physiology at Ball State University. The alumni scientists were invited back to campus recently to present a research symposium for students in YSU’s Exercise Science Department. Kostek, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina and director of USC’s Muscle and Translational Therapeutic Research Laboratory and Division of Applied Physiology, talked about the molecular mechanisms of muscle rehabilitation. Kostek has a doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Maryland and completed postdoctoral training in molecular genetics of skeletal muscle at the Children’s Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Haus, a postdoctoral research fellow working at the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pathobiology and at the Physiology Department at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, discussed the physiological mechanisms of diabetes development and how exercise can help to stave off the ill effects of diabetes. Haus also earned a doctorate in human bioenergetics from Ball State.


Youngstown State University

cal Technicians 2009 Rocco V. Morando Lifetime Achievement Award, the group’s most prestigious honor. Brown is executive director of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, and the award recognized his role in helping to shape the National EMS and in guiding the National EMS Registry.

Kenneth J. Koran of Tampa, Fla., ’78, BSEET, retired recently as principal software engineer for Diebold Inc. of Canton. Koran had been with the company for 29 years and was named its Inventor of the Year in 2006. He has eight patents registered with the U.S. Patent Office. Dan Linebaugh of Baytown, Texas, ’78 B.A. in speech communications, has been named a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Dan Linebaugh Monthly Magazine for the third consecutive year and was inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as a life member. Linebaugh was featured on CNN’s Airport News as one of America’s

Class Notes

Premiere Lawyers. He earned his law degree in 1985 from South Texas College of Law and has a private law practice in Baytown. Catherine Finamore Henry of Jacksonville, Fla., ’79 AAS, ’86 BSAS, ’96 MBA, is vice president of business development and ethics officer for SmartPros Legal & Ethics, Ltd. A certified internal auditor, she Catherine Finamore Henry has held positions at Winn-Dixie Stores, NetJets and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC. Henry has authored numerous articles published in Internal Auditor and Compliance & Ethics Professional, and she often speaks on corporate compliance and ethics issues. Mary S. Schostok of Libertyville, Ill., ’79 AAB, ’82 BSEd, was elected second vice president of the Illinois Judges Association. Judge Schostok was appointed to the Circuit Court in February 2001 and now serves as Illinois Appellate Court Judge in the Second Judicial District. Previously, she was acting chief judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit in Lake County.


Linda Braund Clark of Hubbard, ’80 BFA, has been commissioned to create several watercolor paintings and murals for public display in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. She did two murals for the Canfield Fair and her version of “The Goddess of Speed” was purchased by the city of Warren and is on permanent display at the National Packard Museum. The cowboy hat she painted for the Mahoning County Farm Bureau in 2008 was displayed at fairs across the state and at the Ohio State Fair before becoming part of the permanent display at Bob Evans Farm. She is working with several other artists on a mosaic mural for the Eastwood Mall in Niles. George Mario Buritica of Los Angeles, ’81 BS in electrical engineering, was promoted to principal engineering fellow at Raytheon Co., a national aerospace and defense company. Buritica is a 27-year Raytheon veteran and has several patents and publications to his credit. He earned an MS in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. Philip J. Albaugh of Parma, Ohio, ’82 AAB, ’83 BSBA, was promoted to group manager of the Tax Exempt Organizations Division at the Internal Revenue Service office in Independence, Ohio. Albaugh has been employed by the IRS for 27 years. His wife is YSU alumna Mary Ann Lissi Albaugh, ’77 AAB, ’78 BS in secondary education, a middle school teacher in the Parma City School District. Carol Feret Magazzeni of Brimfield, Ohio, ’82 BSBA, was presented Pizza Hut’s 2009 Mar-

keting MVP award in October. She is director of marketing and public relations for Hallrich Incorporated, which owns and operates 39 Pizza Hut WingStreet locations in 19 Northeastern Ohio counties. She has been with the company for 21 years. Susan Martinko Lisko of Canfield, ’84 BS in nursing, earned a doctorate of nursing practice degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She earned a registered nursing diploma from St. Elizabeth Susan Lisko Hospital Medical Center’s School of Nursing and a master’s degree in nursing from Gannon University in Erie, Pa. She is an assistant professor of nursing at YSU. Catherine M. Shutak of Seoul, Korea, ’84 AAS, ’87 BSN, was promoted from Lt. Colonel to full Colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and assumed new duties last summer as deputy commander for nursing at the 121 CSH in Seoul. She has earned numerous awards during her 22-year Army career, including the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal. Myra Giangardella of Howland, ’84 AAS,’96 BSN, was appointed nurse manager for the acute rehabilitation unit at St. Elizabeth Health Center. A certified rehabilitation registered nurse, she was formerly Myra Giangardella employed in the hospital’s clinical information department. Scott D. Hunter of Canfield, ’85 BSBA, was named to the board of directors of United Community Financial Corp., Scott Hunter holding company of The Home Savings and Loan Co. A Judge for the Mahoning County Misdemeanor Drug Scott Hunter Court, Hunter is also an attorney and maintains a private law practice. He earned his law degree at the University of Cincinnati, served several years on Canfield City Council and was Canfield mayor in 1998 and 1999, relinquishing the position when he was appointed judge. He was subsequently elected in 2000 and reelected as judge in 2006.

Dave Rivello of East Rochester, N.Y., ’86 BM, has released a musical CD entitled “Facing the Mirror” and featuring original compositions performed by the Dave Rivello Ensemble. Rivello is assistant professor of jazz studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where he earned his master’s degree in jazz and contemporary writing. He directs Eastman’s New Jazz Ensemble, which was recently named “Best College Band” in Downbeat Magazine’s student music awards. Lisa Miles of Pittsburgh, ’87 BA in English, has published her second book, Resurrecting Allegheny City: The Land, Structures & People of Pittsburgh’s North Side, which was sponsored by a grant Lisa Miles from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Buhl Foundation. Miles is a musician and composer, a lecturer and teacher. Catherine V. Mott of Wexford, Pa., ’88 MBA, was one of three American business women invited to present at the Corporate Ambassadors Program for the Egyptian Hub of Middle Eastern and North African Businesswomen’s Network last year in Cairo, Egypt. Mott is chief executive officer and founder of Blue Tree Capital Group and Blue Tree Allied Angels. Marianne Barron of Youngstown, ’89 BSBA, has been appointed manager of reimbursement for the finance department of Humility of Mary Health Partners. Barron formerly served as a senior reimbursement accountant for HMHP.

Marianne Barron


Justine Luther of Boardman, ’90 BA in organizational communication, was named manager of claims resolution for patient financial services at Humility of Mary Health Partners. Previously, she was director of the business office at Belmont Pines Hospital in Liberty Township. Presley Gillespie of Youngstown, ’92 BA in organizational communications, was named executive director of the newlycreated Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.,

Presley Gillespie Winter 2010


Class Notes

a strategic partnership involving the city of Youngstown and the Raymond John Wean Foundation that will focus on strategic neighborhood revitalization in the city. An 18-year veteran of the banking industry, Gillespie was formerly a vice president and community development lender for KeyBank who generated more than $60 million in community development transactions for the greater Youngstown area. Laura MacGregor Comek of Columbus, Ohio, ’94 BSBA, has been named to the 2009 edition of Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars, a publication that recognizes outstanding attorneys under 40 or who have practiced for less than Laura MacGregor Comek 10 years. Laura earned her law degree from Capital University Law School and practices land and economic development, eminent domain and municipal law. She is the youngest partner with the Columbus law firm of Crabbe Brown and James LLP. Comek is also a 2006 Business First Forty Under 40 Award recipient. Her husband Jeff Vanik, ’94 BSFA, is also a YSU alumnus. Matthew Hiner of Kirtland, Ohio, ’94 MA in history, is an assistant history professor at Lakeland Community College and was recently awarded tenure by its board of trustees. Hiner has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Akron and spent two years teaching at Northampton College in Pennsylvania before joining the Lakeland faculty in 2003. Hiner was also featured on a PBS documentary titled “Generations: Cuyahoga Valley National Park.”

Amid the cheers of an enthusiastic “Price is Right” audience, YSU alumna Sarah Wakefield of Boardman nearly missed the iconic call: “Sarah Wakefield, come on down!” Wakefield, who earned both bachelor’s (’06) and master's (’07) degrees in economics from YSU, was vacationing in Las Vegas in June when she and her traveling companions decided to try out for the long-running television game show. She was the first audience member called to participate in Contestants Row that day and got to show off her “Ohio Loves Drew” T-shirt on stage with host Drew Carey. Wakefield won a set of golf clubs on the show, which was broadcast Sept. 30 on Youngstown CBS affiliate, WKBN-TV Channel 27. Wakefield is employed as an instructor in the Department of Economics at YSU and as an economic assistant with the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Division in Youngstown. She also teaches online courses for DeVry University


Youngstown State University


Jennifer Pimpinella of Hubbard, ’00 Associate in accounting, has been named manager of payroll processing and reporting for Humility of Mary Health Partners, Youngstown, and Jennifer Pimpinella Community Mercy Health Partners, Springfield, Ohio. She is a former HMHP payroll administrator. Amanda SmithTeutsch of Girard, ’02 AB in French and journalism, is a reporter for Akron-based Waste & Recycling News, a division of Crain Communications. Formerly, she was a reporter for the Tribune Chronicle Amanda Smith-Teutsch newspaper in Warren. Her husband, Eric Teutsch, ’00 BSE in Spanish and education, ’05 MEd, is also a YSU alumnus. Tara Treharn Keating of Howland, Ohio, ’02 BA in political science and economics, was elected in November to a four-year term on the Howland Board of Education. Treharn Keating earned a law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in 2005, served as a magistrate with the Trumbull County Probate

Court in Warren and is now employed as a judicial attorney for Judge Timothy P. Cannon in the Eleventh District Court of Appeals. Gina Zirounis of Mineral Ridge, Ohio, ’04 BA in early childhood education, was named retail sales manager for a Verizon Wireless store in Alliance, retaining the position she held when the store was operated by Alltel. Katie Krichko of Scottsdale, Ariz., ’06 BA in hospitality management, was a contestant in the Miss Arizona pageant in November as part of the Miss USA contest. She qualified for the state pageant by winning the title Miss Valley of the Sun. Krichko is employed as a life enrichment manager at Sunrise Senior Living. Samuel Di Rocco, II of Leetonia, Ohio, ’06 MA in history, recently received the Lloyd and Betty Lapp Outstanding Doctoral History Student Award from the University of Toledo Department of History, where he is a doctoral student and instructor. His manuscript, entitled “One Jewish Community’s Response to Nazism and the Refugee Crisis: The Formation and Fundraising Objectives of the Jewish Federation of Youngstown, Ohio 1935-1941,” was also published by Kent State University Press in Ohio History, volume 116. Karen Elizabeth Varga of Malaga, Spain, ’07 BA in Spanish and international relations, has been awarded a 2009-10 Rotary Foundation Ambassador Scholarship to study abroad at the Universidad Central de Venezuelad in Venezuela. Varga moved to Spain after completing her YSU degree and spent two years as an employee of the Spanish government, teaching English at an elementary school. She will spend two semesters studying in Venezuela. Heather Baltic of Girard, ’07 BSAS in forensic science, recently completed a master of public health degree in epidemiology at Ohio State University, where she was awarded the Outstanding Student Heather Baltic Award upon graduation. She is now employed at Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center as program coordinator of the Behavioral Measurement Shared Resource and serves on the alumni society board of directors for the College of Public Health.

GOT GOOD NEWS? Let YSU Magazine include it in the Class Notes column. 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 class notes to universitymagazine@ysu. edu or mail to: YSU Magazine, Marketing and Communications, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555.

Create a Legacy

one brick at a time...

Centennial Circle surrounds the statue of Howard Jones on campus core.

Bricks Make Fine Gifts for any Occasion Remember a loved one, graduation, retirement, birth or milestone event in your life by purchasing an engraved brick. Your personalized brick will be placed in Centennial Circle as a lasting memorial on the YSU Campus. Bricks come in two sizes: 4x8-inch at $150 and 8x8-inch at $300.

Each purchase comes with a genuine, engraved minireplica brick to keep or give as a gift. The Centennial Circle Brick Campaign supports an endowment to help sustain the natural beauty of YSU campus trees and green spaces. Celebrate the milestones in your life – and support YSU.

To order, visit or contact University Development at 330-941-3119.



Our bricks are a great way to give the gift of Penguin Pride to a graduate! Orders placed by April 1 will receive a mini-replica in time for May graduations.

Office of University Development One University Plaza Youngstown, Ohio 44555-0001

Sweet Start

  YSU President David C. Sweet and his wife Pat get a hug from Penny Penguin at the annual Forté on the Fifty celebration in this July 2000 photo, taken shortly after Sweet assumed his role as the university’s sixth president nearly a decade ago. Since then the Sweets have involved themselves in Forte’, YSU’s annual music and fireworks celebration, and in many other aspects of university life, including athletics at home and away, music and theater. Sweet is making plans to retire June 30, and a national search for a new YSU president is under way.

Portrait of a President - Youngstown State University Winter Alumni Magazine 2010  

Dr. David Sweet is featured on the cover of the Winter 2010 Magazine

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