Youngstown State University today named its performing arts series after the late Donald P. Pipino, a successful business owner, accomplished musician and devoted patron of the arts who regularly attended YSU music and theatrical performances.
The naming was announced at a news conference held in concert with the celebration of the 145th anniversary of the Dana School of Music at YSU.
“Today is a special day for Youngstown State University,” President Randy J. Dunn said. “We not only have the opportunity to recognize the long, proud history of one of the nation’s finest music schools, but we also celebrate a man whose life was dedicated to his family, his business and to the betterment of the Valley.”
Dunn also announced that Pipino’s daughter, Christine Muransky, and her husband, Edward, have made a $100,000 donation to the YSU College of Creative Arts and Communication. The gift will be used to support the performing arts series in perpetuity.
“This series is such a perfect tribute to my beloved dad’s memory because music gave him such great pleasure,” Muransky said. “He especially loved live performances, and I have very fond memories of attending programs at Dana with him. Ed and I are so gratified to contribute to a jewel in our community and honor a man we loved dearly.”
Pipino died Aug. 26, 2011, at the age of 83. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1949. After serving in the Army Signal Corps in Augusta, Ga., he moved to Youngstown. In 1952, he purchased the Vagnozzi Insurance Agency and was a founder and charter president of the Mahoning Valley Chapter of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters. The company began specializing in providing insurance and risk management services to two of the emerging leaders in the shopping center industry, the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. and the Cafaro Company. Pipino’s brother and best friend, James “Doc” Pipino, joined him and became his life-long business partner. The Donald P. Pipino Co. continues to be a nationally recognized specialist in the field.
The Performing Arts Series includes hundreds of concerts and productions annually by students and faculty in the Dana School of Music, University Theater and Dance Ensemble at YSU, as well as other special performances and the annual Summer Festival of the Arts.
The Dana School of Music is one of the six oldest and continuously functioning music schools in the United States. It was 145 years ago that William Henry Dana, at the age of 23, announced the opening of Dana’s Music Institute in Warren, Ohio. In 1941, Dana’s Music Institute became part of Youngstown College, which in 1967 became Youngstown State University. Today, more than 50 faculty and staff maintain a tradition of conservatory-style music training in a metropolitan university setting. In 2004, Dana was designated an All-Steinway School with 68 new Steinway pianos, making YSU the first public university in Ohio to be designated an All-Steinway School.