By Christopher Gillett
Before retiring, professors at Youngstown State University touch the lives of everyone around them through teaching, working with faculty, organizing events or designing whole programs.
This semester, a total of 17 faculty are retiring.
Guang-Hwa Andy Chang has been a professor of mathematics and statistics at YSU since 1993. Chang said he went into mathematics to take care of his family.
“My major in undergraduate [studies] was navigation. I liked to go to see the world, but then I thought about family. I have to take care of [my] family. If I travel around the world I can’t take care of my family,” Chang said. “Believe it or not, math was my worst subject when I was in high school and college.”
After attending graduate school for math, Chang decided to go into academia, and ended up at YSU. Before Chang came to YSU, the university didn’t have a statistics program. During the 1990s, Chang built the program, writing the proposals for all the courses.
Chang said he enjoyed his time at YSU helping students and researching statistics.
“I really enjoyed every moment here — I have lots of freedom to do what I like to do, and YSU supports us … There’s a lot of good research activity going on. [It] really enriched my life too. I really enjoyed every moment — working with faculty, teaching students. I can’t have anything better than this,” Chang said.
Richard Goldthwait, an assistant professor of math, specifically geometry and differential equations, was a mechanical engineer whose work became focused on mathematics, coming to YSU in 1988.
Goldthwait said he loved working with his colleagues whether he’s at the university or at academic conferences.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with my colleagues in the math department here. It’s been truly awesome,” Goldthwait said. “Some of my best memories date back to the ‘90s when I was a young untenured professor. I remember going to conferences with a colleague from this department presenting research papers at other institutions.”
Dr. Nancy Wagner, the director of the Centofanti School of Nursing and a nursing professor, has been working at YSU for over 30 years. Before coming to YSU, she worked as a nurse at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Wagner said she put love into the education she provided to thousands of nurses.
“I hope that because I’ve loved what I’ve done for over 40 years, I hope that I’ve given those students and graduates that same feeling. I want them to love what they do,” Wagner said. “I’m really passionate about our community, and we’ve added to the nursing workforce. We have been a major player in that here at YSU.”
Dr. Kim Ballone, a nursing professor, has been working at YSU for 33 years. Ballone got into nursing through the influence of her mother who worked in healthcare.
She attended YSU, then worked as a nurse before coming back to teach nursing. Ballone said her legacy is reflected in all the students she helped grow.
“My biggest legacy is the lives that I’ve touched and come to encounter [realizing] that they’re going to make big differences in other people who are vulnerable, who are sick, who need help, who need some education [and] who need to know what direction to turn to,” Ballone said. “I feel like I’ve touched so many lives, and I’ve really enjoyed being an educator.”
Other professors retiring are health and rehabilitation professor James Benedict, nursing professors Dr. Susan Lisko and Molly Roche, math professors Stephen Rodabaugh and Neil Flowers, computer science professor Theodore Bosela, English professor Philip Brady, psychology professor Stephen Flora, anthropology professor Paul Gordiejew and engineering professor Hojjat Mehri.