YSU makes choice for president

YOUNGSTOWN – The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees offered the job of president to Dr. Randy J. Dunn, president of Murray State University in Kentucky.

Dunn would replace Cynthia E. Anderson, who is retiring June 30 after three years as YSU president and 34 years with the university.

“Dr. Dunn has the experience, the character, the personality and the tenacity to face the challenges and to guide the university to new heights in the years ahead,” trustees board Chair Sudershan Garg said.

After meeting for more than three hours Friday afternoon, the board voted unanimously to offer the position to Dunn.

Trustees also authorized Garg and Vice Chair John Jakubek to negotiate a contract with Dunn. The appointment will not be final until contract terms can be reached. No timeline was given for negotiations.

Dunn was one of three finalist culled from a field of eight semi-finalists after a five-month national search. Each of the three finalists – William R. Decatur, executive vice president of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; James D. Moran III, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; and Dunn – visited the campus over the last nine days, meeting with trustees, students, staff and members of the public over the past nine days.

When he visited Youngstown last week, Dunn told WYTV 33 News, “I think we have the opportunity to build graduate student enrollment, international student enrollment, without changing the face of what YSU is known for and that’s a great traditional undergraduate experience.

“We have the chance here for YSU to really fulfill what is the defining element of a great state university and that is to be a steward of the region that it’s within,” he said.

Dunn told 33 News he would reach out to local and regional leaders, seeking partnerships to create jobs and prosperity.

Garg said Friday, “After an extensive national search, detailed examination of each and every candidate and input from hundreds of individuals across the campus and the community, the Board of Trustees believes Dr. Dunn is the ideal match to lead Youngstown State University.”

Dunn has been president of Murray State University in Murray, Ky., since December 2006.

Murray state is listed as a public comprehensive university ranked 11th nationally in that category by

U.S. News and World Report for 2013, according to Dunn. Student enrollment is about 10,800 students at the main campus in Murray and regional campuses in four other Kentucky cities and the Fort Campbell Army Base.

Youngstown State University is listed as a comprehensive urban research university that offers nearly 14,000 students more than 135 undergraduate and graduate programs.

Dunn previously was state superintendent of Education for the state of Illinois; an associate professor, professor and department chair of educational administration and higher education at Southern Illinois University; and assistant professor of Leadership at the University of Memphis, according to YSU.

He began his career in education as an elementary school and reading teacher in Gibson City, Ill., in 1980, and was also a superintendent for two school districts, and principal for a middle and a grade school.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in teacher education in 1980 and a master’s degree in educational administration and foundations in 1983 from Illinois State University, and an Ed.D. in educational administration in 1991 from the University of Illinois.

Dunn has received more than $800,000 in grant funding for a variety of projects, and has authored dozens of scholarly papers, articles in scholarly and professional journals, book chapters and book reviews on topics ranging from teacher unionism to the relationship between the superintendent and the board, according to his vitae.

Among his honors are Administrator of the Year from the Kentucky Music Educators Association, Outstanding Faculty Member of Hart Residential College at Murray State University and the Alumni Hall of Fame Award from the College of Education at Illinois State University.

He and his wife, Dr. Ronda Baker Dunn, educational recovery director for Commissioner Terry Holliday in the Kentucky Department of Education, have four grown children.