Search for new president officially begins

The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees announced on Friday that a search company will assist in the process of hiring a new president after Cynthia Anderson retires at the end of the academic year.

After an executive session that spanned nearly two hours, the trustees revealed that they would head a 17-member presidential search advisory committee that would consult with AGB Search.

The committee consists of YSU trustees Scott Schulick, John Jakubek, Sudershan Garg, Harry Meshel, Carole Weimer, Leonard Schiavone, Delores Crawford, David Deibel and James Greene; student trustees Joshua Prest and Melissa Wasser; former trustees Eugenia Atkinson and Donald Cagigas; Bege Bowers, retired associate provost at YSU; Chet Cooper, professor of biological sciences and president of the YSU Academic Senate; Carl Nunziato, YSU alumnus and former vice president of National City Bank; and Suzanne Fleming, former coordinator of the Northeast Ohio Regional Leadership Task Force.

Franklin S. Bennett Jr., secretary to the board, said the search for a new chief executive will be the most important task undertaken by board members.

Garg, chair of the board, said the trustees looked at four search firms. He said he believes that AGB Search, based in Washington, D.C., is the best and most economical option.

AGB Search’s consulting services will cost the university $65,000, which Garg said the university budget will cover. Garg said he expects the contract to be finalized this week. The task of hiring the university’s new president is projected to take between four and six months.

Garg said the active national search will include evaluation, screening and identifying the best candidates in a vigorous, comprehensive and honest manner.

“We have no favorites,” Garg said.

Like the search for Anderson in 2009, the board will narrow the candidates from 300 to about 50. Then, the board of trustees will again narrow the list down to about a dozen candidates and bring in only a few of the most qualified prospects by mid-May.

Garg said no particular qualifications are necessary, but having a doctorate is a favorable quality.

“We want someone that will keep the faculty together, hire the best faculty and someone that gets along with the board of trustees,” he said. “[We’re looking for] the best and most qualified person to bring the university out of tough financial times.”

Wasser said she is sad to see Anderson retire.

“She was the president when I came to YSU, and it makes me sad that she won’t be here when I graduate, but I think that we are going to be very thorough with the search process, and I think we will be able to find somebody that is more than qualified to replace Dr. Anderson,” she said.

Wasser said she appreciated Anderson’s focus on student activities.

“Besides serving as the voice for the students, I really want someone that is going to help increase our enrollment numbers and make sure we’re going to get back to where we were in the past,” she said. “I think that is a big issue that a president will have to take on.”

Wasser said she is not worried and believes the search committee will be able to find someone to make these goals a reality for YSU.