It’s unbelievable to think time has gone this quickly, but this is my last YSUpdate column prior to the holiday break. I’ll start back up, of course, with the publication schedule in the spring of 2014, but as we close the semester, I want to take the opportunity once more to thank so many of you on campus – plus those external to the University – for making my presidential transition to Youngstown State as smooth as one could ask for. I know, it may not have always appeared that way given some of the issues we’ve dealt with through the fall, but it has been a good start for me.
I have been fortunate to encounter literally hundreds of individuals these past five months—students, alumni, faculty and staff, donors, community members, elected officials, and others—who hold great fondness for YSU and are also willing to put forth their time and effort to a level commensurate with their affection for this institution.
When we see that combination of commitment and work ethic devoted to YSU, we can be assured that we’re going to get some very positive things accomplished in the months and years ahead.
Let me briefly revisit some of what I’ve been focusing on, with the help of many others, since my official start on July 15 and on through the FA13 semester:
- Attended or conducted over 125 (as of this writing) separate campus activities, external meetings, interviews, tours, donor meals or receptions, civic organizations, addresses, and events, including both the State of the University address and Presidential Installation.
- Developed and implemented a $6.5 million deficit reduction plan for the current, FY14 operating budget.
- Served as part of a subsequent Budget Joint Task Force—along with our four union presidents and additional representatives—to identify extra savings or revenue streams to stave off employee layoffs.
- Made it through one round of quarterly Board of Trustee meetings, two special BOT sessions, the Board’s two-day fall retreat, and completion of the Board Book for the December quarterly meetings.
- Worked with many of our Facilities, Development, Academic Affairs, and other key staff to get the Veterans Resource Center construction underway, continue planning and fundraising for the proposed Melnick Hall media “incubator,” and formally submit YSU’s $12.4 million request to Ohio’s Higher Education Capital Funding Commission for a wide variety of campus renovations and improvements.
- Undertook a number of policy, HR, and organizational reviews leading to numerous changes in areas such as reporting relationships, position descriptions, and operating procedures.
- And wrote six or seven columns for the YSUpdate (with particular thanks for writing help from Jonelle Beatrice and Sylvia Imler on a couple of those)!
All of these projects were made possible not by me, but by the efforts of many who make this University work, day in and day out.
One of the things I haven’t gotten as much accomplished on this semester is the kickoff of my “kitchen cabinet” teams for Recruitment Marketing and International Partnerships. Don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about those groups. Part of the challenge here was that instead of the maybe 25 volunteers I thought I would have, I ended up with about 85! We’ve got a database constructed and will be reaching out to everyone who offered assistance, and I will try to get some things moving early in the spring semester.
So, as we’ve made it thus far together, let me end by extending all best wishes from Ronda and myself to everyone in the YSU Family for a safe, restful, and blessed holiday season with family and friends!