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YSU professor gets endowment

YOUNGSTOWN — Daniel Van Dussen, professor of gerontology at Youngstown State University, was named the first YSU DePizzo Endowed Chair in Gerontology.

The faculty position was created through a $1.65 million donation to YSU by John “Jack” and Nuggie DePizzo, who owned and operated more than 30 senior care facilities across the Youngstown region and who now continue to develop and operate in southwest Florida.

“It is an honor to be selected for this prestigious appointment and to continue our work to improve our community’s understanding of the interdisciplinary field of gerontology and the aging process. This includes all aspects of aging from the genetic to international perspectives,” Van Dussen said. “These funds will help expand our research program in gerontology and the research profile of Youngstown State University.”

The endowed position was bestowed in a campus ceremony Monday by Jeffery Allen, dean of the YSU Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, and Tracy D’Andrea, DePizzo’s daughter.

YSU now has 13 endowed faculty positions. The positions, which combine a traditional faculty post with enhancements funded from the interest on the principal of the gift to the university, are a major part of the $120 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign at YSU.

In 2013, Van Dussen led the effort to create YSU’s new master’s degree program in gerontology. The degree was in response to the growing number of older Americans, many concentrated in the Ohio / Pennsylvania region. Nationally, about 13 percent of the U.S. population is 65 or older — about one in every eight Americans. Both Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the top 10 states in population of older adults.

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