Lafferty’s December exit; Johnson hopes for January start

The board of trustees passed a resolution of appreciation to Lafferty on Dec. 7. Photo by Elizabeth Coss / The Jambar

By Elizabeth Coss

Hours after the board of trustees’ Dec. 7 meeting, the Youngstown State University community received an email about Helen Lafferty’s “bittersweet” end as interim president. 

According to Rebecca Rose, director of communications and marketing, the board passed a resolution of appreciation to Lafferty, stating her last day as interim president will be Dec. 31.

Lafferty said in her statement, “You have taught me so much, not just about the university but about what must remain the focus — our students. Each of you embody a piece of this place that is both sacred and priceless. I have been honored and humbled throughout this interim presidency, and I return to Villanova (and I will quote now from the YSU Mission Statement) ‘inspired, enlivened and enriched.’”

U.S. Rep. William “Bill” Johnson was selected to be the 10th president of YSU in November. 

Johnson confirmed to The Jambar that his first day as president will directly follow his final day as a congressman. He said he hopes to start at YSU as early as January. 

“I have to work with the governor and with the House of Representatives and with YSU,” Johnson said. “I hope that it’s going to be in early Q1, early next quarter, presumably sometime in the month of January. I don’t think it’s going to go all the way into March, but I just do not know yet what my start date is going to be. It could go to March, but we just don’t know that yet.”

While he does not know his starting date yet, Johnson said he is excited to begin. 

 “I would like to get started as soon as possible, but we’ll see,” Johnson said. “I’m very, very excited — not only about starting my presidency [at YSU] — but I’m just excited about the university because there are so many great things going on.” 

The YSU News Center stated in a release Nov. 21 that Johnson is set to begin his term in March 2024.