Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel will give the keynote address at YSU’s Summer Commencement 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, in Beeghly Center.
Kenzie Ellise Black will be the student speaker at the ceremony.
After a national search, the YSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously in May to appoint Tressel as the university’s chief executive. He took office July 1.
A native of Northeast Ohio, Tressel graduated from Berea High School in suburban Cleveland in 1971. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1975 and a master’s degree in Education from the University of Akron in 1977. He also received honorary degrees from YSU in 2001 and Baldwin-Wallace in 2003.
He previously was executive vice president for Student Success at the University of Akron. Prior to joining the University of Akron, Tressel was head football coach at Ohio State University from 2001 to 2010, where his teams won the national championship in 2002 and seven Big Ten championships. As head football coach at YSU from 1986 to 2000, Tressel’s teams won four Division I-AA national championships. He also was executive director of Athletics at YSU from 1994 to 2000. Prior to YSU, he was an assistant football coach at Ohio State, Syracuse University, Miami University of Ohio and the University of Akron.
Kenzie Ellise Black, originally from Arlington, Texas, moved to Youngstown at age 9 and graduated from Poland Seminary High School in 2010. As a high school freshman, Kenzie began volunteering at Operation Learning Community Program, where she continued her service throughout college. A member of the National Honor Society, Kenzie graduated high school with a 3.91 GPA and began her college career at Slippery Rock University. She transferred to YSU in her sophomore year.
She is a member of the Zeta Phi Alpha Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Honor Society. She maintained a 3.96 GPA throughout her college career and was named to the Dean’s List every semester. Kenzie also worked throughout college as a part-time preschool teacher at Hopes and Dreams Preschool and Daycare in Austintown. She also completed a social work internship at Homes For Kids, Inc./Child and Family Solutions in Niles.