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YSU vice president tapped as new president

Published: Wed, February 17, 2010 @ 3:24 p.m.

Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees has picked one of the university’s own as the next YSU president.

The board voted today to name Cynthia Anderson, long-time vice president for student affairs, as the seventh and first woman president of the university.

She will succeed David C. Sweet who is retiring June 30 after serving 10 years as university president.

Anderson, 59, grew up in nearby Fowler and has basically called Youngstown State University her academic home since she was a student here in the early 1970s.

She did spend some time earning a master’s degree at Ohio State and securing a doctorate from the University of Akron, but she’s been teaching at YSU since 1979. She still teaches, working in some class time around her schedule as vice president for student affairs, a job she’s held since 1995.

“I’ve never been interested in leaving YSU,” she said.

Those who know her say she is Youngstown State University — through and through — and she has publicly said the university needs to return to an atmosphere where the campus considers itself one family.

She is clearly popular.

Even before she chose to seek the president’s seat, there were members of the campus community circulating petitions on her behalf. An organizer of that campaign said Anderson cares about everyone she meets, especially the students. Others say she has a knack for listening to what others have to say and describe her as “a people person.”

She views herself as “a collaborative leader” who doesn’t make decisions in a vacuum.

Anderson firmly believes that students should be the university’s number one priority, pointing out that they are the business of Youngstown State University. Greater recruiting efforts targeting those as young as sixth and seventh grade need to be implemented to encourage area students to pursue their college careers here, she said.

Greater efforts are also required to work with students on a one-to-one basis to encourage early collegiate successes that make them want to continue that pursuit, Anderson said.

She has also called for the university community to make internal repairs to relationships, a specific reference to past labor disputes that pitted unionized employees against the administration.

Anderson said the regional business community needs to work hand-in-hand with the university to help determine what courses of study should be offered. Expanding partnerships with business and community organizations will strengthen the university’s link with the community, enabling it to provide leadership and educated individuals to foster economic development, she said.

That community engagement should also provide internships and other work opportunities for YSU students, she said.

Being designated as an urban research university under Ohio’s 10-year strategic plan for higher education is a matter that still requires some definition, but it could prove to be the icing on the cake to YSU’s reputation as a teaching institution, she said.

Anderson has promised to have a leadership team in place and be ready to go so she can hit the ground running when she takes over the university’s presidential duties in July.


1SAEYSU(1 comment)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

YSU has made a great decision not to say the other candidates weren't a good choice. I have been a student at YSU the past 4 years, and very involved in the Greek System. I have never seen Dr. Sweet at any Greek organized event, but Dr. Anderson is always around. She is very involved with students, and wants whats best for the student body. Good job Youngstown State on electing the perfect choice, and Congratulations Dr A . on becoming the first female president at YSU.

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2goYtown(13 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Maybe having the home-town favorite will keep everyone happy, at least for a while. Best wishes, Dr. A.!

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3walter_sobchak(2253 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Here's hoping she will be able to increase the dollars coming into the university. With the way the Trustees give out bonuses, especially to the non-deserving, they need the additional money.

She also has to insure that the Eastern Gateway C.C. expands its reach. YSU has too many students that require remedial education. The open enrollment has to end so that the prestige of this institution is raised.

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4bobhogue(102 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

This is a great day for YSU!

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5CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I couldn't agree more, Bob! Dr. Anderson is the right person for the job at the right time. I wish everyone who cares about YSU could have been in the Chestnut Room when her name was put into nomination... what a thrilling moment. I wish Dr. Anderson could have seen it! The future of YSU got a bit brighter today. And, congratulations to the Board of Trustees for making such a wise decision.

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6valleytransplant(37 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

to Walter...you hit it on the head with "remedial education"...YSU must change or it will be a CC...

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7Tigerlily(506 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, YSU must transform from what they seem to celebrate as a "teaching institution" into something bigger than that. Community Colleges are teaching institutions. YSU will need to envision something bigger than that: something that will grow the economy here at home as well as diversify that economy. So much energy and money is going into the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math College, which is fine, but it is to the neglect of all of YSU's other programs. This is as silly as Youngstown was pre-mill closings, thinking that only one industry--steel--was enough to make a safe foundation for a city. You need at least four different kinds of industries to shore up your city's economic certainty, and the same can be said of a university's need for diverse programs, not just science, tech, engineering and math. Hopefully Dr. Anderson will see the need for other kinds of programs as well. Good luck to her. I hope she has good judgment.

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8JaneEDoe(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, she is a nice person, but both YSU and the Youngstown area need a significant change. This is not a significant change. It's disgusting how many people are licking their chops in anticipation of riding her coat tails to the top. It's not surprising given the cronyism and nepotism rampant in Youngstown.

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9CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Regarding the above posters: Sorry if you begrudge a wonderfully qualified person being rewarded for her hard work. For once, it would be nice if the naysayers kept their petty and vindictive comments to themselves. Rae, Dr. Anderson is not INEPT, nor will she be a detriment to the University. A classy person would wish her and the University well. Unless of course you have some personal grudge against her, which from your post sounds likely....

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10sue(176 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Can't say anything bad about the new president because I don't know her but I was hoping to get an outsider to bring new ideas to the area and to YSU. I think the YSU board wanted someone they could control. Believe it or not, there is a big world outside the confines of the Mahoning Valley.

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11E328(15 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't be so certain that Dr. Anderson does not have new ideas, or that she will be controlled by the board. She is most definitely not a light weight (that made me laugh), and the suggestion that she was the least qualified candidate is comical at best. It never crossed your mind to wonder why one of the other candidates has a contract that was not being renewed, or why a university president would want to go to another university of the same size? University presidents seem to change jobs to move to universities of different sizes, because they are no longer in good favor where they are or because they have a specialty that is specific to the university searching for new leadership. YSU should not be a dumping ground for applicants who need an out from wherever they are now, or applicants who intend to sit pretty until their impending retirement. People who look good on paper are often not always what they seem or claim to be. Dr. Anderson is a strong person and knows the university's strengths and weaknesses. She is not afraid to tell the truth, even if it is not what people want to hear. Unlike Sweet, she does not see herself as being on a different level than everyone else. She mingles with the "commoners." She is a great choice for the campus and everyone on it and is not just a feather in the cap of the administration.

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