Ends intertwine for graduation

Spring 2023 graduation was the last commencement held in Stambaugh Stadium. Photo courtesy of @youngstownstate on Instagram.

By Christopher Gillett

Around 700 students will graduate from Youngstown State University Dec. 17, with undergraduate and graduate commencements taking place on the basketball court of Beeghly Center at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.

Undergraduate commencement will host senior human resource management major Colleen Davis as the student speaker, and country music writer and YSU alumnus Bob DiPiero as the featured speaker.

Davis is president of the Society for Human Resource Management at YSU and vice president of the Student Nonprofit Leadership Organization. Davis said she’ll miss YSU but is considering a nonprofit career because of her university experience.

“I love school. I am a person who loves going to school, getting graded on my assignments, and having something to do. I would honestly consider myself to be a workaholic — so I will miss just having class,” Davis said. “I have always been someone who’s always wanted to help people in some capacity and I never considered a career in the nonprofit industry [before YSU].”

Undergraduate student speaker Colleen Davis. Photo by Christopher Gillett / The Jambar

DiPiero said he’s excited to pass along wisdom to the graduating students.

“If they can just take little morsels of what I have to say or little pieces of story or wisdom that I might have to impart, then I’ll be very excited to pass that along,” DiPiero said. “I want to … inspire them to go after what they really want — not what mom or dad want — but what [they] want as a graduate.”

DiPiero has written many award-winning songs including “American Made” performed by The Oak Ridge Boys. Alongside speaking, DiPiero will also receive an honorary doctorate in music from YSU. DiPiero said he felt humbled upon learning about the doctorate.

“I was surprised, delighted, I felt very humbled because truly music is all I have ever done — writing, songwriting, performing, playing my instrument, which is the guitar,” DiPiero said.

Undergraduate featured speaker Bob DiPiero. Photo courtesy Bob DiPiero

Graduate commencement will host Nico Morgione — who will receive a master’s degree in business administration — as the student speaker. Cornel Bogdan, a YSU alumnus and host of the music radio show, “Tangled Up In Blues,” will be the featured graduate speaker.

Alongside being a long-time Mahoning Valley resident, Morgione is also the associate director of business development and industry partnerships for the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation. Morgione said he’ll remember all the opportunities YSU gave him.

“[I will remember] the relationships built throughout my time here, the various jobs, working on campus, getting to know so many different professors and other students and just getting involved on campus — just being able to get such a great education without having to relocate or leave the Mahoning Valley,” Morgione said.

Graduate student speaker Nico Morgione. Photo by Christopher Gillett / The Jambar

Bogdan also remembered his experiences at YSU, including working at radio stations and covering music stories for The Jambar, from local bands to Bruce Springsteen performing at the Richfield Coliseum. Bogdan said he loved the opportunities the university gave him.

“Between being on the radio, being on the underground sound at YSU, writing for The Jambar, I was able to open up the doors for myself in a lot of ways as a very very young person that probably would be shut nowadays,” Bogdan said. “I love Youngstown State University. I know a lot of people say that, but YSU has been so good to me in my profession.”

Graduate featured speaker Cornel Bogdan