Alumni couple provides for beautification of campus

YSU campus in the fall

Beautification of the YSU campus is the focus of a planned gift by Walter and Mary Healey, alumni now living in California. The gift is expected to have a value of $1 million or more.

Youngstown State University has received a planned gift with an estimated value of $1 million or more for campus beautification from Walter and Mary Healey, YSU alumni now living in California.

“I want to thank Walter and Mary for this very generous gift and for designating the funds for campus beautification,” YSU President Cynthia E. Anderson said.  “Anyone who ever attended YSU understands and appreciates our campus’ park-like environment in the midst of an urban setting. This gift will allow us to ensure that we continue to enhance and maintain that environment for generations to come.”

The Healeys have designated the future funds be used for campus beautification initiatives such as the installation and maintenance of shrubbery, flowers, benches, gazebos, sidewalks, patios, courtyards, sculptures, fountains and other items to enhance the campus’ appearance. Heather Chunn, YSU senior development officer, said the specific use of the funds will be determined once the funds become available upon the deaths of the donors.

“We have great memories of YSU and thought that this was a great way to help keep the campus looking nice,” Walter Healey said.

“Even though we no longer live in Youngstown, it still has a very special place in our hearts and always will,” Mary Healey said. “This is a way that we can give back to a place that means so much to both of us.”

Walter and Mary grew up a mile apart from each other in the Brownlee Woods neighborhood of Youngstown but did not meet until they were enrolled at YSU in the early 1970s. Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1976 and a master’s degree in secondary education in 1982, while Walter earned an associate’s degree in applied science in 1974. Walter also earned a bachelor’s degree in human resource management from Geneva College in 1994.

Mary taught home economics and special education in schools in the Youngstown area before moving to California in 1988, where she continued her 33-year teaching career until retiring last year. Walter was an officer with Mill Creek Park Police from 1976 to 2003, retiring as a sergeant. They were married in 2002.

Mary Healey, whose mother, Peg Sweeney, also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from YSU, remembers coming to campus as a child with her mother, sitting on the steps of Jones Hall and admiring the flowers. “I also remember that no one ever told you to get off the grass,” she said.

Scott Evans, vice president for University Advancement, said the university is grateful to the Healeys for their commitment. “We hope their example will inspire other alumni and friends to join them in remembering the university in their financial and estate plans,” he added.

Anyone interested in information on making provisions for YSU in their estate can contact Evans at 330-941-3118 or

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