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YSU campaign exceeds goal

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University’s “We See Tomorrow” campaign has exceeded its fundraising goal by more than $26 million.

During the quarterly Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, Paul McFadden, the YSU Foundation’s president, announced the campaign raised $126,187,126 — far in excess of its $100 million target.

The 4-year-old campaign, the largest in YSU’s 113-year history, attracted more than 32,500 gifts, including 40 of $1 million or more, McFadden noted.

He also said during the session the university soon plans to release several TV commercials detailing how the funds will impact YSU.

A report the university released shortly after the campaign’s launch in 2017 listed a series of priorities regarding how the funds were to be earmarked. They included:

• $20 million each for scholarships and student-work opportunities, as well as the annual fund;

• $12 million for a Student Success Center;

• $14 million for a Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center;

• $10 million for campus beautification efforts;

• $4 million for the Rich Center for Autism.

The YSU Foundation also likely will increase the merit scholarship pool to YSU by about $750,000, McFadden added.

Trustees also were updated on a variety of ongoing and new construction projects on the campus, including discussions on parking and the likely razing of the parking deck at Fifth and Lincoln avenues.

John Hyden, the university’s associate vice president of facilities, told trustees a new student center could replace the deck. If it is demolished, a two-level parking deck on Fifth behind the Taco Bell could be built to offset the loss of parking spaces, Hyden said.

Other projects include upgrades to Ward Beecher Hall, ongoing renovations to the physical therapy department in Cushwa Hall and maintenance to the Fifth Avenue parking deck, as well as the one on Wick Avenue.

Projects in development include greenhouse renovations, elevator safety work, renovations to Moser Hall, information-technology infrastructure upgrades and utility distribution expansion and upgrades.

Rich White, director of planning and construction, said YSU has contracted with a company for a feasibility study on the future of Kilcawley Center. A similar study on the student center built in the 1960s was conducted in 2010, but the plan stalled because of a lack of funding, White noted, adding that this study should be finished by next April.

All stakeholders — especially students — will have input in the process, Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president of student experience, added.

Also at the session, trustees approved a resolution to authorize an associate degree in nursing, in line with what some see as a need for a larger number of registered nurses in the Mahoning Valley.

The university offered such a program from 1967 to 1989, but various community health and practice partners have expressed the importance of a larger workforce of nurses, trustees were told.

Such a degree program will offer another way the university can help “provide a stream of nurses who can not only enter the system, but stay in the area,” Provost Brien Smith said.

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