Meet YSU’s new first lady


Ronda and Randy Dunn will soon begin their reign at Youngstown State University, with a tentative starting date of July 15. Photo courtesy of Ronda and Randy Dunn.

Ronda Dunn, Youngstown State University’s new first lady, said she looks forward to the next chapter of her life at YSU.

Ronda Dunn met Randy Dunn while she was attending Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and, for many years, they went separate ways.

The couple reconnected and began dating in 2006, while Randy Dunn was the Illinois State Superintendent of Education and Ronda Dunn was a regional superintendent in southern Illinois. They married the following year on October 20.

Ronda Dunn said the decision to come to YSU didn’t take very long.

After spending the past few years at Murray State University, a small-town college, the couple said they were ready for change in a larger metropolitan area.

However, Ronda Dunn said that was not the only selling point.

“Once we came to Youngstown for the campus visit and found out how welcoming and open everyone was, we were sold and hoping that we would get the position,” she said.

The two said they were also excited to experience Youngstown and all it has to offer, including its culture, history and some of its treats.

“By the way, we’ve already discovered Handel’s for ice cream,” Randy Dunn said. “I can see numerous trips there for us during the summer months as well as Mill Creek Park and other highlights of the Mahoning Valley.”

But their exploration of Youngstown doesn’t stop there. Ronda Dunn said she is looking forward to getting to know the people of the university and becoming involved in different groups “as well as taking advantage of all the opportunities for arts, culture and shopping.”

Ronda was valedictorian of Benton Consolidated High School in Benton, Ill. After high school she attended SIU.

Ronda got her undergraduate degree in business administration, but later in life, something sparked her to be an educator.

“I had children.” Ronda Dunn said. “Once I had my first child in 1989, I knew that education is what I wanted to do.”

She continued her education at SIU, earning her master’s degree in workforce education and development. But her education didn’t stop there.

“I just kept going and went back to eventually get my Ph.D. in administration also at SIU,” Ronda Dunn said.

While she was working toward her master’s degree and Ph.D., Ronda Dunn was a full-time administrator at a high school and had a family of her own.

Ronda Dunn also stayed busy at Murray State. She helped form the Murray State Women’s Society, assisted in several educational conferences and held many meetings and fundraising events at their home on campus.

Ronda Dunn said she plans on being involved at YSU in many aspects.

As first lady of YSU, Ronda Dunn said she will work as a partner to her husband in terms of outreach for YSU and be engaged with students in all types of venues.

“She is a big advocate for students in every sense,” Randy Dunn said. “She understands that students are the bottom line of what universities have to be about.”

During her time at MSU, Ronda Dunn has helped students find jobs, has given tours of the president’s home to sororities, judged various campus events and has appeared in student videos.

The couple said that five years ago, when they first married, they never saw themselves in their roles at YSU or eating ice cream at Handel’s.

“I think that’s the exciting part of our lives together — and life in general. You never know what is around the next bend,” Randy Dunn said.

1 comments Josh Thu May 30 2013 11:30 Lol! They make it sound like they are voluntarily leaving Murray State to come to YSU. Dunn got canned there, was applying to every school with an opening and we were the only ones to hire him. We weren’t hand picked as a school to come to. That scares me. I don’t think this guy will really care about our school as much as he will about his ego