Though Randy Dunn took office in July, he was not formally welcomed as Youngstown State University’s eighth president until his installation on Nov. 1 at Beeghly Center.
During the installation ceremony, Dunn explained his vision for the university’s future.
Throughout his first months as president, Dunn has not only worked to balance YSU’s operating budget, but has also looked to improve enrollment numbers and graduation rates. Dunn said these efforts are part of a larger plan to reinvent the school’s operating model.
“Our current operating model at YSU cannot be well sustained for much longer without something changing. Most of us in the arena know that full well. Corporations, businesses, science, government: they all know there eventually comes a time when only that incremental change doesn’t work,” Dunn said.
Despite efforts to reevaluate the school’s operations, Dunn said YSU’s essential mission to educate will not change.
“Reinventing the university is about continuing our mission of supporting thousands of men and women of all ethnic backgrounds, colors and beliefs, from here and other places as well with their dreams and personal aspirations to reinvent themselves,” Dunn said. “So, let’s start thinking about Youngstown State University in a new way. And let’s come together to shape its reputation and build on its promise rather than letting others do it for us.”
Harry Meshel, a member on the YSU Board of Trustees said it is the responsibility of the entire community to forward YSU’s mission.
“The big thing was transferring responsibility to all of us in this community to do what we can for the university. … The important thing to do is become a part of the community,” Meshel said. “I just think we need as much additional respect and support that we can get for the university, everybody understanding that this is one of the most important facilities in this part of the state.”
Gianna Marinucci, a student at YSU, said that even students can help improve the university’s image.
“I thought it was really interesting and exciting to see a new president at YSU and hear what he had to say and other people had to say about him,” Marinucci said. “He really wants to improve the university’s image and I think that’s an important thing for students to do as well.”
Dr. Sudershan Garg, chair of the board of trustees, was among the installation’s many speakers. He called Dunn an asset to the community and expressed confidence in Dunn’s ability to lead.
“Kentucky’s loss is Ohio’s gain. Murray City’s loss is Youngstown city’s gain. Murray State University’s loss is YSU’s gain,” he said. “I strongly believe that [Dunn] is the right man for the right job.”
Catie Carney, president of the YSU Student Government Association, said Dunn possesses the quality of a successful leader who will keep the interest of the university’s students in mind.
“We needed a president with charisma, integrity and ingenuity in order for this university to continue to thrive,” Carney said. “Dr. Randy Dunn possesses all of these qualities. Since his first day on the job, Dr. Dunn has made it clear that the students are his top priority.”