First day on the job for YSU President Randy Dunn

First day lunch

Randy Dunn lunches with students at Wendy’s in Kilcawley Center on his first day as president of YSU.

Randy Dunn’s first day as president of Youngstown State University started at the crack of dawn Monday with visits to three morning TV shows and concluded with shaking the hands of dozens of well wishers at a reception on the campus core.

In between, the new president met with top university executives, chatted with prospective students and their parents, lunched with a small group of students at Wendy’s, met with leaders of the university’s four labor unions and settled into his office in Tod Hall.

“As I came into Tod Hall today, past the portraits of the seven presidents who came before me, it was both humbling and energizing,” Dunn said in a video posted Monday on the university’s homepage ( “They have left an extraordinary legacy for all of us to carry forward.”

At the afternoon reception, under sunny skies at the Kilcawley Fountain Commons, about 400 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members greeted and welcomed Dunn and his wife, Ronda, to campus.

“This is a new day in the history of YSU,” said Sudershan Garg, chair of the YSU Board of Trustees. “This is a great day in the history of YSU.”

The YSU Board of Trustees appointed Dunn as the university’s eighth president after a national search. He replaces Cynthia E. Anderson, who retired June 30 after three years as president and 34 years with the university.

First day WKBN

President Dunn started his day with visits to Youngstown’s three morning TV shows.

The new president started his day with interviews on Youngstown morning television shows at WFMJ, WKBN and WYTV. By 7:30 a.m., he was back home at the Pollock House on Wick Avenue for a quick meeting with his top executives – Ikram Khawaja, provost; Gene Grilli, vice president for Finance and Administration; Jack Fahey, vice president for Student Affairs; and Scott Evans, vice president for University Advancement. Dunn then walked across Wick Avenue to Tod Hall to officially begin his first day on the job.

Later in the morning, he went to Sweeney Hall and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to chat with staff and with prospective students and their parents who were preparing for a campus tour. He later met with leaders of the university’s faculty, classified staff, police and professional/administration staff unions in his Tod Hall office, then walked to Kilcawley Center for an informal lunch of hamburgers and French fries with a small group of students.

First day, reception

Randy and Ronda Dunn greet about 400 people at a reception outside Kilcawley Center.

Dunn comes to YSU after nearly seven years as president of Murray State University in Kentucky. He previously was State Superintendent of Education for the state of Illinois; an associate professor, professor and department chair of Educational Administration and Higher Education at Southern Illinois University; and assistant professor of Leadership at the University of Memphis. He also previously was superintendent for two school districts, a middle school and grade school principal and an elementary and reading teacher, all in Illinois.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in Teacher Education and a master’s degree in Educational Administration and Foundations from Illinois State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois.

The Dunns have four grown children.

Read Dunn’s full vitae at

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